Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Issues Covid-19 Guidance
Last Friday the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued a new Guidance related to President Biden’s September 9, 2021, Executive Order 14042 “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.”
Both the Guidance and E.O. 14042 apply to companies with a Federal contract or “contract-like instrument” of $250,000 or more. Contractors and subcontractors of all tiers are covered unless the contract or subcontract is solely for the manufacture or provision of products. Contracts for services and leaseholds are covered, and there is no small business exception. The Guidance applies to new contracts awarded on or after November 14, 2021, and to extensions of existing contracts.
The Guidance requires thousands of businesses to verify that their employees have received the COVID vaccine. It also imposes certain masking and social distancing requirements.
Significantly, the Guidance is in addition to any applicable OSHA standard, and it supersedes any conflicting state or local laws. However, compliance with the Guidance does not excuse failure to comply with applicable state or local laws that are more stringent.
You can find the Guidance here: https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov/downloads/Draft%20contractor%20guidance%20doc_20210922.pdf
· Generally, the Guidance requires covered contractors to:
· Require all employees who are not legally entitled to an accommodation to be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021.
· Require employees to provide documentation proving their vaccination status, including those who work remotely. Employers cannot merely accept an employee’s word that they have been vaccinated.
· Ensure that all persons on a covered site, employees, visitors, and vendors alike, comply with CDC guidance regarding masking and physical distancing. This will require fully vaccinated employees to wear masks in areas of high or substantial community transmission in indoor settings.
· Check the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View website (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view) at least weekly and implement additional protective measures where required.
· Identify one or more Coordinators who will be responsible to coordinate and document the implementation of their compliance with the Guidance. If you don’t document it, you did not do it.
The Task Force may issue binding revisions to the Guidance in the future, so federal contractors should keep their eyes open.