On September 24, 2021, the Biden Administration’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued Covid-19 workplace safety guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors. The 14-page guidance provides that “covered contractor employees” must be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021, unless a religious or medical exemption applies. There is no testing option for employees who choose not to be vaccinated and individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second dose of an approved vaccine. The mandate applies to all full-time and part-time employees of a covered contractor, subject to a few limited exceptions such as medical or religious exemptions, as well as certain employees who work at a location that has no nexus to the federal contract or subcontract or remote employees who perform no work relating to the contract or subcontract. The mandate, however, does apply to employees (remote or otherwise) who are only indirectly involved in supporting a government contract.

The mandate contains several other requirements, including, but not limited to:

  • requiring covered employees to follow CDC masking and physical distancing obligations
  • requiring covered employers to designate a Covid-19 safety coordinator to coordinate and implement the requirements of the mandate

The key question in implementing this mandate will be: who is a covered employer? Generally speaking, the mandate will apply to federal contracts for services, construction, a leasehold interest in real property or if the contract is in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents or the general public.

Questions will undoubtedly remain regarding the scope and coverage of the mandate, as well as how exemptions are to be applied. Frantz Ward will continue to monitor updates related to the federal mandate guidance. In the meantime, covered contractors should begin to implement steps now to comply with the guidance.

Feel free to reach out to a member of Frantz Ward’s Labor and Employment Group with questions.