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Employment Law Alert – Federal Contractors Take Note: Updated FAQ’s Provide A Little More Guidance on the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

November 5, 2021

Federal Government Contractors- the Safer Federal Workplace Task Force issued updated FAQs with a bit more guidance on how to comply with the federal contractor vaccine mandate.

Based on questions we have been hearing from you, highlights from the updated guidance include:

  • December 8th is still the deadline to be vaccinated. BUT– if an employee refuses to comply by December 8th, it is up to the employer to determine the appropriate means of enforcement. Employers are not required to terminate the employee as of December 8th (although that is an option). Instead, the employer could choose to follow workplace disciplinary policies and write the employee up as it would to enforce any other similar policy violation. The Task Force suggests that a limited period of counseling and education, followed by additional disciplinary measures, and ultimately termination for continued non-compliance, may be appropriate.
  • If the contractor has on-site employees who are entitled to exemption from the vaccine mandate, the contractor should notify the contracting officer.
  • Government agencies are directed to work with covered contractors to reach compliance with this mandate. Specifically—if the contractor is working in good faith to comply but encounters challenges (i.e. employee reluctance), the FAQ says the contracting officer should work with the contractor to address the challenges. At the same time—if the covered contractor is not taking steps to comply, the FAQ says that significant actions – such as termination of the contract – should be taken.
  • If the employee’s request for accommodation is denied and the employee must be vaccinated to comply with the mandate, the contractor must set a deadline for the employee to promptly become fully vaccinated.
  • Once the contractor includes the required clause mandating compliance with the Task Force Guidance in its subcontract, the contractor can assume that the subcontractor is in compliance.

This remains a fluid situation and we expect that the guidance will continue to be updated. Stay tuned—and you can always reach out to us with questions!

 


 

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The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.