By Sara J. Ackermann and Nicole L. Stangl
October 8, 2021
The Magic Language:
The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council (FAR Council) was charged with drafting contractual language to require compliance with the guidance from the SAFER Task Force (Guidance). For a more in-depth discussion of the Guidance, see our blog post from September 24, BREAKING NEWS! Guidance Issued on Biden’s Contractor Vaccine Mandate!
The FAR Council issued a memorandum on October 1, 2021 in response to Executive Order 14042 (EO), including the contract language titled “Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” The FAR Council directs Agencies to act expeditiously to issue a policy and incorporate the language.
Although the EO provided a list of contracts covered, the Guidance is very clear, a “covered contract” is any contract that contains the language and the FAR Council has encouraged Agencies to include the language in “contracts that are not covered or directly addressed by the order” including contracts under the simplified acquisition threshold and subcontracts for manufacturing of products.
Takeaway: Keep an eye on all federal contracts. If the magic contract language is included, you will be a “covered contractor” under the Guidance and will be required to comply with the requirements.
The SAFER Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) has continually been updating the FAQs. Most recently they have added FAQs related to documentation for vaccination and the accommodations to the vaccination requirement. Click here to see the vaccine FAQs by the Task Force.
The new FAQS address what is and is not an exception to the vaccination requirement, for example, medical conditions the CDC recognize as a reason to not get the vaccine, whether prior infection is an exception to vaccination, and whether or not pregnancy affects a persons’ ability to get vaccinated according to the CDC.
Takeaway: These FAQs provide support in an employer when evaluating the legitimacy of the accommodation request from an employee, but employers must remember that each accommodation request should be addressed on a case by case basis based on the individualized facts.
The content in the following blog posts is based upon the state of the law at the time of its original publication. As legal developments change quickly, the content in these blog posts may not remain accurate as laws change over time. None of the information contained in these publications is intended as legal advice or opinion relative to specific matters, facts, situations, or issues. You should not act upon the information in these blog posts without discussing your specific situation with legal counsel.
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