Safer Federal Workforce Task Force – Updated FAQ Section Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination
Key Details: The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force released an updated version of their frequently asked questions section regarding the implementation of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations on October 21, 2021. This follows EO 14042 and the new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 52.223-99 that contractors will soon see. Ryan & Wetmore covered this in our previous article.
In general, FAR 52.233-99 must be included in all new applicable solicitations, options, and renewals issued on or after October 15, 2021, and covered employees must be fully vaccinated (unless they are exempted) by December 8, 2021.
Key Changes to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Vaccination Update
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 vaccination update highlights COVID-19 timeline requirements, accommodations, medical considerations, delays, and requirements for covered employees. The Task Force has provided responses to questions and clarifications on a variety of safety protocols, applicability, and compliance topics.
The following lists out the most notable changes to the frequently asked questions section that contractors and subcontractors should be aware of. For a full list and discussion of the updates, please click here.
- Covered contractors who have employees who initially requested accommodation (but have been denied) must document a timeline for the employee to become fully vaccinated.
- Covered contractors may grant certain employees’ accommodation for extension for the deadline of becoming fully vaccinated even if this employee does not meet the legal definition of “disability” under the Rehabilitation Act. Employers must consider individual medical needs on a case-by-case basis when granting extensions.
- The CDC considers the following contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines: 1) Severe allergic reactions following a COVID-19 dose 2) Immediate allergic reactions to a COVID-19 dose.
- Information provided by the CDC regarding recommendations for delaying the vaccine for certain individuals. This includes certain medical conditions, medical history, or clinical trials. A current list can be found in the frequently asked questions section here.
- Means of enforcement guidance for employees who refuse to be vaccinated and have not been approved for accommodation.
- Agency contracting officers should help covered contractors work through any challenges if these contractors are working in good faith and are taking the correct steps to comply with requirements. Failure to comply may result in termination of the contract if corrective action is not taken.
- Employees of corporate affiliates of a covered contractor are considered covered contractor employees and may be subject to COVID-19 workplace safety protocols.
Contractors and subcontractors should review and understand the new guidance released by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. EO 14042 and FAR 52.223-99 both state that contractors must comply with Task Force updates.
As the updated FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) provide more helpful and detailed guidance relating to timelines and medical considerations, government contractors can continue to monitor updates and clarifications provided by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to comply and address specific employee situations that may warrant delays or accommodations.
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Peter T. Ryan co-founded Ryan & Wetmore in 1988 with business partner Michael J. Wetmore. Peter provides clients with the best strategies for success. His expertise extends across various industries, including government contracting. Peter obtained a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the Catholic University of America.
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