Executive Order Details Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors
Further guidance is to come by September 24.
President Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that outlines the coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
“This order promotes economy and efficiency in federal procurement by ensuring that the parties that contract with the federal government provide adequate COVID-19 safeguards to their workers performing on or in connection with a federal government contract or contract-like instrument,” said the executive order released after the president’s remarks. “These safeguards will decrease the spread of COVID-19, which will decrease worker absence, reduce labor costs, and improve the efficiency of contractors and subcontractors at sites where they are performing work for the federal government.”
Agencies must ensure that to the extent allowed by law, contracts and contract-like instruments incorporate a clause that “shall specify that the contractor or subcontractor shall, for the duration of the contract, comply with all guidance for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force,” said the executive order. “This clause shall apply to any workplace locations (as specified by the task force guidance) in which an individual is working on or in connection with a federal government contract or contract-like instrument.”
The order outlines what should be implemented and how over the next month. The task force will issue guidance by September 24 that will further explain the requirements and any exceptions.
The executive order applies to any new contracts or new contract-like instruments as well as for new solicitations, extensions, renewals and/or exercises of an option for an existing agreement.
The White House noted the definition “contract or contract-like instrument” aligns with that of the executive order on increasing the minimum wage for workers on federal contracts issued in July.
The executive order does not cover: grants; contracts or contact-like instruments or agreements with Indian Tribes (as outlined in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act); contracts or contract-like instruments with values equal to or less than the simplified acquisition threshold; employees who work outside of the United States; and “subcontracts solely for the provision of products.”
David Berteau, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, which represents over 400 companies that contract with the federal government, told Government Executive earlier on Thursday that the simplified acquisition threshold says that “anything under $250,000 as a contract is exempt from a lot of the rules, so PSC is watching to see if these types of contracts are exempt from the vaccination mandate.”