Last month, President Biden issued an executive order that effectively imposes several COVID-19 safety standards and protocols, including mandatory vaccinations, on certain federal contractors and subcontractors. Specifically, the executive order directs federal agencies to incorporate a clause into all covered federal contracts that will require federal contractors or sub-contractors to comply with guidelines issued by the White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Guidance), and which was released on September 24, 2021. Under the decree and guidelines, some manufacturers and other companies doing business with the federal government will soon be required to make vaccination of their workforce mandatory and ensure compliance masking and social distancing requirements, among other requirements.
In accordance with the decree and guidelines, by December 8, 2021, Federal Covered Contractors and Subcontractors must ensure and verify through appropriate documentation that their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of ‘exception of employees who are legally entitled to a medical examination. or religious accommodation. Covered federal contractors and subcontractors must also ensure that all employees and visitors comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on physical distancing and masking in the workplace. Covered contractors will also be required to designate a COVID security coordinator responsible for coordinating, implementing and adhering to security protocols.
The new COVID-19 security protocols will be implemented and effected by adding a clause to covered federal contracts awarded on or after November 14, 2021, as well as solicitations of covered federal contracts, extensions, renewals and options occurring on or after October 15, 2021. By adding this required clause, Covered Federal Contractors and Subcontractors will be contractually required to comply with the relevant COVID-19 safety requirements specified in the Guide. Prime contractors will be responsible for ensuring that this clause is passed on to the first level sub-contractors, and higher level sub-contractors should continue to pass the clause on to the next lower level sub-contractor. Primary contracts or subcontracts that are solely for the manufacture or supply of products are not subject to order vaccination and other COVID-19 security requirements as per the Guide. However, each contract should be independently reviewed on a case-by-case basis before making this decision.
In addition, the Guide “strongly encourages” federal agencies to incorporate the COVID-19 safety clause into contracts not covered, including existing contracts and contracts or subcontracts that are intended solely for the manufacture / supply of products. . Therefore, since federal agencies can still choose to make changes to contracts that are not otherwise “covered contracts”, manufacturers should continue to audit all existing contracts (and all contracts entered into in the future. ) to determine if the contract has been amended to include the relevant vaccination and other safety requirements related to COVID-19.
As manufacturers with contracts or subcontracts with the federal government prepare to implement these new COVID-19 safety protocols and vaccination requirements, they should review any future contracts or subcontracts, solicitations contracts, or contract renewals or extensions to determine whether the Order in Council and Directives will apply and should monitor their federal contracts and subcontracts for any relevant contract changes. Additionally, manufacturers with covered contracts must be prepared to implement the required COVID-19 masking, physical distancing, and other security requirements, and comply with the December 8, 2021 deadline for full vaccination. of their workforce.[View source.]