Federal Contractor and subcontractor employees covered by Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance (Task Force Guidance) who originally needed to be vaccinated by December 8, 2021, now have a new, delayed vaccination compliance date of January 4, 2022. See our September 10, 2021 and September 27, 2021 client alerts for more information on the EO and Task Force Guidance.
The President announced the delay on November 4, 2021, at the same time that he announced that OSHA was releasing its long awaited COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for employers with 100 or more employees and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was issuing its vaccination requirements. The administration stated that it was making this change “[t]o make it easy for businesses and workers to comply.”
Although as of the date of this alert neither the Task Force Guidance nor the FAQs have been updated to reflect the delay in the mandatory vaccination date, we believe they will be soon. For example, last week, the administration already articulated some leniency in the December 8 deadline. Specifically, Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, stated that the December 8 deadline was not a “cliff” and that the White House intended there to be “flexibility within the system” and that federal agencies and contractors will go through “education, counseling, accommodations and then enforcement.” This week, the Task Force updated the guidance reinforcing the flexibility and providing examples on how contractors are to go forward.
In addition to the delay, several lawsuits have been filed challenging the EO 14042 and asking the courts to enjoin it. At this time, no court has ruled on this issue.
For additional resources and tools to allow employers to act swiftly in evolving landscape of the COVID-19 vaccine, sample plans and policies, a state-by-state tracker of applicable legal regulations and a broad analysis of laws implicated by the COVID-19 Vaccine and vaccine mandates, consider purchasing Michael Best's Vaccination Policy Toolkit.