December 3, 2021

Volume XI, Number 337

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December 03, 2021

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December 02, 2021

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December 01, 2021

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Federal Contractor Vaccination Mandate: Important Dates for Covered Contractors

In response to the Path Out of the Pandemic: COVID-19 Action Plan announced by President Biden on September 9, and Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (the “Order”), signed by the President the same day, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) issued “COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors” (“Guidance”) on September 24, 2021. We addressed the Order and Guidance in prior blog posts, one from October 13, 2021, and one from September 24, 2021.

The Order requires all executive departments and agencies of the federal government to ensure that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause (“Clause”) requiring covered federal government contractors and subcontractors at any tier (“Covered Contractors”), for the duration of their respective contracts, to comply with the requirements of the Order and all guidance published by the Task Force.  The requirements apply to new contracts awarded on or after October 15, 2021, and to contracts entered before that date when an option is extended or an extension is made.

Important Dates for Covered Contractors:

  • October 15, 2021 – For all contracts awarded prior to October 15, where performance is ongoing, the Clause must be incorporated when an option is exercised or an extension is made. Between October 15 and November 14, agencies must include the Clause in their solicitations.  The government encouraged agencies and contractors to include the Clause in contracts that were solicited before October 15, but did not require them to do so.

  • November 14, 2021 – All new contracts awarded on or after November 14 must include the Clause.

  • December 8, 2021 – All Covered Contractor Employees under existing contracts are to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no later than December 8, unless the employee is legally entitled to an accommodation. The Guidance, however, is silent as to the treatment of employees who are not vaccinated by the deadline, and it does not require contractors to terminate the employment of unvaccinated workers. Employers need to consider how they will respond to employees who refuse to be vaccinated and are not entitled to an accommodation under the law.  In doing so, employers should review the FAQs issued to federal agencies regarding vaccination and the considerations listed for enforcement of the vaccination requirement.

  • Post-December 8, 2021 – All Covered Contractor Employees must be fully vaccinated by the first day of the period of performance on a newly awarded covered contract, and by the first day of the period of performance on an exercised option or extended or renewed contract when the clause has been incorporated into the covered contract.

As of October 15, 2021, federal agencies are directed to include the Clause mandating compliance with the Order in their covered government contracts.  At present, some agencies are being very aggressive in demanding that the Clause be included in new contracts and before any existing contract option or renewal is acted upon.  Contractors should therefore begin the process of collecting employee vaccination information. To be fully vaccinated by the December 8, 2021 deadline, Covered Contractor Employees must receive their final shot by November 24, 2021.  Covered Contractors should also set a date well in advance of December 8, 2021, by which employees may request accommodations so that the employers can engage in the interactive process. Accommodations could include regular COVID-19 testing, masking, social distancing and/or remote work.

©2021 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 294
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About this Author

Dean R. Singewald II, Epstein Becker, EEO Compliance Lawyer, Labor Attorney
Associate

DEAN R. SINGEWALD II is an Associate in the Labor and Employment and Litigation practices in the Stamford office of Epstein Becker Green. He represents employers, taking a practical and cost-efficient, results-driven approach, in all facets of employment law, from hire to separation, including affirmative action and EEO compliance, representation before the OFCCP, and litigation.

203-326-7410
Peter M. Stein, Epstein Becker Green, National Employer Representation,
Member

PETER M. STEIN is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice of Epstein Becker Green. Based in the firm's Stamford office, where he serves as the Managing Shareholder, he represents both national and regional employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.

203-326-7420
Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing
Member

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes,...

202-861-1863
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