You may recall, last month, we shared information on COVID-19 vaccine/testing requirements for on-site federal contractors. Late last week, on the heels of the FDA’s COVID-19 vaccine approval, the Biden administration released an expanded blueprint for increasing vaccination rates and testing. The announcement included plans to require COVID-19 testing and/or vaccines for federal employees, federal contractors, healthcare workers, and businesses.
As we await implementation details, you can review the highlights below on upcoming requirements for federal contractors and businesses with 100 or more employees.
Based upon the administration’s announcement, federal contractors (not just those onsite) will be required to ensure employees working on or in connection with a federal contract are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Unlike the protocols released in July, the new protocols are not expected to provide a testing alternative.
However, the requirements may not be as widespread as initially thought. According to Sec. 5 Applicability of the Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, the order appears to mainly impact service related contracts and is not mandated for contracts or subcontracts valued at or below the simplified acquisition threshold.
While companies should be prepared, many implementation details will not be available until early October. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force is responsible for issuing new COVID-19 safety guidance for federal contractors by September 24th. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is also tasked with initiating implementation steps in regard to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), by October 8, 2021. Stay tuned for details.
Businesses With 100 or More Employees
The Department of Labor is expected to issue an emergency rule, requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure each employee is fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. These companies will also be required to provide paid time off to employees to get vaccinated. OSHA is tasked with creating an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement the requirement. Again, stay tuned for details.