On September 9, 2021, the President issued Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors which directs federal agencies to include a contract clause requiring a federal contractor – and subcontractors at any tier – to comply with all Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) Order Guidance for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations for the duration of the contract. On September 24, 2021, the Task Force published its Guidance including a vaccine mandate and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) workplace safety measures for all government prime contractors and subcontractors performing service or construction contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold, even if an employee works remotely and does not go into the office.
You may start seeing modifications from your clients with their intent to modify your contract. We expect new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and DFARS clauses will be issued on or about October 8, 2021, that will contain the COVID-19 vaccine and health and safety requirements. The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a class deviation, Class Deviation 2021-O0009, on October 1, 2021 implementing the required protocols. Independent agencies not subject to the Executive Order are expected to use a similar clause in their contracts based on new forthcoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standards.
Although the FAR clause and guidance for independent agencies have not yet been finalized, Federal contractors and subcontractors can expect to be required to comply with the following workplace COVID safety protocols based on the Task Force Guidance:
- Full COVID-19 vaccination by December 8, 2021, except in limited circumstances where a worker receives an approved medical or religious accommodation
- Compliance by individuals, including employees and visitors, with the guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in contractor and subcontractor workplaces; and
- Designation of a COVID-19 Coordinator to manage compliance with the protocols
For more information on COVID-19 compliance, please CONTACT US.