New Vaccine Guidance for Federal Contractors Sets January 4 Deadline

November 04, 2021

An update to the Biden administration’s guidance on vaccine mandates for federal contractors has delayed the date covered employees must be vaccinated to January 4, 2022, and leaves it up to covered contractors to determine how to enforce compliance with the mandate, including termination of employees who refuse to comply after counseling.

The White House announced employees covered by the federal contractor vaccine mandate rules will need to have their final vaccination dose by January 4, 2022.

Highlights of the updated EO guidance include: 
  • An employee of a corporate affiliate of a covered contractor is considered a covered contractor employee if the employee performs work at a covered contractor workplace. 

  • Where contractors are working in good faith regarding the COVID workplace safety requirements and they encounter compliance challenges, agency contracting officers are instructed to work with them to address the challenges.

  • Not all requests for accommodation need to be resolved by the time employees begin work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace.  However, employees with a pending accommodation request must follow workplace safety protocols for individuals who are not fully vaccinated as specified in the guidance. 

  • Federal agencies will determine the workplace safety protocols that individuals who are not fully vaccinated must follow while in a federal workplace. 

A HR Policy summary of the updated guidance is here.

Takeaway:  The OSHA ETS is far more flexible for employers than the vaccine executive order and HR Policy will be working with the Biden Administration to more closely align the EO with OSHA ETS.