As a follow up to President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, (Order) the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (TASK Force) has issued its guidance (Guidance) in an effort to implement a science-based plan to get more people vaccinated. The Guidance contains definitions and requirements, including the following:
- Vaccine Mandate. The Guidance mandates vaccinations for covered contractor employees except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to accommodation.
- Social Distancing and Masking. The Guidance requires covered contractor employees and visitors to comply with masking and physical distancing requirements while at covered contractor workplaces.
- Safety Supervision. Contractors must designate a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces.
- FAR Protocols and Guidance. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) council will implement guidance that will impact Federal procurement solicitations and contracts.
- Proof of Vaccination. Covered contractors must ensure employees are vaccinated by checking authorized vaccination records. Attestations of vaccination are not acceptable substitutes.
- Covered Contracts. The Guidance defines covered contracts as “contracts and contract-like instruments” as an agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable or otherwise recognized by law. The term contract will be broadly interpreted and includes all contracts and any subcontracts of any tier, including any procurement actions, lease agreements, cooperative agreements, provider agreements, intergovernmental service agreements, service agreements, licenses, permits, or any other type of agreement, regardless of particular form, and whether entered into verbally or in writing. That said, the Guidance appears to also exempt contracts for products. The Guidance requires that the obligations flow down to lower-tier subcontractors.
- Covered Workplaces. The Guidance defines “Covered contractor workplace” as a location controlled by a covered contractor where covered contract employees work, whether or not in connection with the project jobsite. This would include the covered contractor’s office but not a covered employees’ residence.
- Remote Workers. An individual working on a covered contract from their residence is a covered contractor employee, and must comply with the vaccination requirement for covered contractor employees, even if the employee never works at either a covered contractor workplace or Federal workplace during the performance of the contract. A covered contractor employee’s residence is not a covered contractor workplace, so while in the residence the individual need not comply with requirements for covered contractor workplaces, including those related to masking and physical distancing, even while working on a covered contract.
- Fully Vaccinated. The Guidance defines “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine. There is currently no post-vaccination time limit on fully vaccinated status.
- Frequently Asked Questions. The Task Force provides simple frequently asked questions that may help interpret this new area of regulation. The same can be found here: Task Force FAQs
We at Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti, LLP are actively working to ensure our clients have the most up-to-date information regarding this ever-changing landscape of COVID regulations. If you need additional assistance or information, please feel free to reach out to one of our team members.
Authors: Sally P. Berg and Kathleen Alt
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