On September 9, 2021 President Biden signed two new executive orders. The first one requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all Federal Employees. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) is tasked with issuing implementation guidance to the Federal Agencies by September 16, 2021.
The second order directs the government to develop a FAR clause that requires Contractors and Subcontractors at any tier to comply with guidance for contractor / subcontractor work locations issued by the Task Force. The Task Force is required to provide relevant definitions and explain the protocols required of contractors / subcontractors by September 24, 2021. The FAR Counsel is required to provide policy direction to Contracting Officers regarding use of the clause by October 8, 2021 with a goal of full implementation by October 15, 2021.
The clause will apply to new contracts or to existing contracts that are extended or have an option exercised. Contracting Officers are encouraged to apply the Covid safeguards to contracts awarded after the date of the executive order and October 15, 2021. The new clause will not apply to grants, contracts with Indian Tribes, contracts less than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, and contracts performed overseas.
Though the Task Force has yet to publish the protocol, it is likely to require contractor employees to be vaccinated or in the alternative undergo regular testing. Questions that presumably will be answered in the protocol include;
- How will compliance be monitored?
- Who is responsible for monitoring compliance?
- How will “work locations” be defined?
- What happens to employees who falsely claim to have been vaccinated?
- How many and what types of tests will be required?
- To whom will the test results be reported?
- What happens to employees who test positive?
- Who will pay for the costs associated with complying with the protocols?
This is an evolving subject so stay-tuned for more details.