Government Will Not Enforce Vaccine Mandate for Contractors

By Emily M. Halliday © Ogletree Deakins September 6, 2022
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​On Aug. 31, the Biden administration updated its Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance on the federal contractor COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

According to the new guidance, the federal government will take no action to implement or enforce Executive Order 14042. For existing contracts that contain a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042, the government will take no action to enforce the clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042.

This updated guidance follows a recent decision from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that narrowed the scope of a preliminary injunction that had barred enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate nationwide.

As of Aug. 31, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website also includes new guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to federal contractors and symptom screening, among other topics. For example, the FAQs clarify that agencies will no longer symptom screen individuals, including contractor employees working on-site at an agency workplace. Instead, symptom screening can be self-conducted and does not need to be verified by agency personnel.

These new FAQs are in line with updated COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protocols issued by the administration on Aug. 17. In that document, which preceded the decision of the Eleventh Circuit that narrowed the Executive Order 14042 injunction, federal agencies were instructed to pause requiring or requesting employees, potential employees, and on-site contractor employees to provide information about their COVID-19 vaccination status. As a result, contractors are no longer required to use the government-wide certification of vaccination form.

Federal contractors may want to continue to monitor the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website for additional guidance about COVID-19 workplace safety protocols and the government's plans to enforce the federal contractor vaccine mandate.

Emily M. Halliday is an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C. © 2022. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. 

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