New COVID Safety Requirements for Federal Contractors

10/01/2021 2:52 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

On Friday, September 24, the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued new guidance regarding vaccination requirements and other COVID-safety measures for the employees of federal government contractors of all business sizes. The Guidance implements the Exeutive Order that President Biden issued last month regarding COVID precautions for government contractors.

The Guidance requires that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that the contractor and any subcontractors (at any tier) are required to incorporate specifying that contractor or subcontractors shall, for the duration of the contract, comply with all the Task Force’s Guidance.

The Guidance requires that contractors and subcontractors conform to these protocols:

  1. COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees by December 8, 2021, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation;
  2. Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the Guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces; and
  3. Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces.

The vaccination requirement applies to covered employees working from home and who have recovered from COVID-19. In addition, there is no alternative for workers to present a weekly negative COVID test, as expected in the forthcoming OSHA vaccine requirement for large employers.

In addition, the Guidance applies to contractor or subcontractor workplace locations that are outdoors.

The Guidance also lays out a process for phasing in the requirements.

  • On contracts awarded prior to October 15, 2021, where performance is ongoing, the requirements must be incorporated at the point at which an option is exercised or an extension is made.
  • The requirements must be incorporated into contracts awarded on or after November 14, 2021. Between October 15 and November 14, agencies must include the clause in the solicitation and are encouraged to include the clause in contracts awarded during this time period but are not required to do so unless the solicitation for such contract was issued on or after October 15.

The Task Force has created a set of FAQs for government contractors which provide more information about the requirements.

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