New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractor

Amazing! New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractor

Information about New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractor

Phil Puccio

The Federal Workforce Task Force, created by President Biden’s Executive Order on COVID Safety Protocols, has published guidelines on occupational safety protocols for federal contractors and subcontractors. The guide explains which contracts are covered, which employers are insured, and what COVID-19 vaccination requirements apply to insured employees. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the guide.

When does the vaccination mandate start?

Government agencies will begin implementing the new requirements in exercising options and extending existing contracts by October 15 and in new contracts from November 14th.

Which contracts are covered?

The guidelines apply to “covered contracts”, which include service and construction contracts. This includes contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon and Service Contracts Act. The guide advises that the only uncovered contracts are those below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, which is set at $ 250,000.00, and those under which a contractor only provides materials. However, the guide “strongly” encourages the authorities to include the vaccination clause in all contracts, including those that would traditionally be exempted, such as B. those below the $ 250,000 threshold.

Which employees are insured?

The guide applies to all full- or part-time contractors or subcontractors working on or “in connection” with a Covered Agreement. This of course applies to the workers on the construction site. However, the language “in connection with” is intended to extend the scope to employees who do not directly meet contract requirements, but who provide support services such as billing, human resources and legal advice. This means that employees who work in corporate offices that support government contracts can be insured. The guide also suggests that teleworkers are covered insofar as they have to adhere to the vaccination part, but not the social distancing part.

And the guideline indicates that it applies to employees who may come into contact with employees who work on federal projects. Therefore, employees who are not directly engaged in federal contracts may be covered due to their potential contact with insured employees.

What are the vaccination requirements?

Employees covered by the guidelines must be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021 or at any time the performance of a Covered Contract begins, whichever occurs later. A worker is fully vaccinated two weeks after the required dose (s). In contrast to OSHA’s vaccination regulations, there is no option for employees to undergo weekly tests as an alternative to vaccination.

How should an employer check vaccination status?

The guideline requires employers to “review” evidence of vaccination documentation. Employers should not rely on employees to confirm vaccination status or an antibody test that shows prior exposure to COVID-19 or a covered vaccine. Instead, employers must review digital or paper copies of medical records that document vaccination, such as: Documentation must include the type of vaccine, the date (s) of the vaccine, and the name of the doctor or clinic administering the vaccine. Although not specifically required, employers should copy such records in order to respond to future audits.

What should contractors do?

Here are some steps contractors can take in response to the guidelines

  • Review the contract to see if there are vaccination clauses in it.
    • This includes changes to existing contracts and new contracts
  • Appoint an individual or team to coordinate implementation and oversee compliance for each workplace.
  • Apply guidelines for:
    • Check employee vaccination status
    • Assessment of employee placement requests, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and religious beliefs
    • Monitoring and enforcing masking and spacing requirements
  • Draft flow-down provisions to ensure that subcontractors adhere to the guidelines.
  • Track the costs associated with implementing the vaccine mandate to request a fair adjustment or reimbursement.

If you need help implementing these guidelines in order to implement these updated guidelines, we recommend reaching out to an experienced building attorney.

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