Safer Federal Workforce Posts Update on Contractor Vaccine Mandate
On October 19, 2022, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published an update for federal contractors regarding new guidance from the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") on the contractor vaccine mandate.
For now, despite the recent lifting of the nationwide injunction on enforcing Executive Order ("EO") 14042 (Sept. 9, 2021), the new guidance says that agencies should not take steps to require covered contractors to comply with previously issued Task Force guidance or enforce contract clauses implementing EO 14042.
Moreover, to allow time to develop advice/procedures for meeting obligations under EO 14042 and applicable court orders, agencies should follow the instructions provided in the OMB guidance here.
The new guidance provides the following on EO 14042 compliance:
For existing contracts that contain a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042
Agencies should continue NOT to enforce any contract clauses implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042—regardless of party or location—until future OMB guidance discussed above indicates that contracting agencies should provide written notice to contractors reinstating enforcement of those clauses and then resume enforcement.
For existing contracts that do not include a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042
For any existing contract that does not include a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042, agencies should NOT at this time modify the contract to insert a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042, even when renewing, extending the term of, placing a new order against, or exercising an option under the contract.
For solicitations, including solicitations for new orders to be issued under existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts
For solicitations, agencies should NOT at this time include a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042. If the agency is conducting a solicitation for new orders under an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract that contains a clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042, the agency should continue NOT to enforce that existing clause.
Notably, as the full guidance notes, the Task Force intends to update its guidance regarding COVID-19 safety protocols for covered contractor and subcontractor workplace locations, and the new guidance will include a timeline for implementation.
The new guidance also says that OMB will also make a determination on "whether the new guidance promotes economy and efficiency in Federal contracting," which it will publish in the Federal Register. After that, OMB would issue more guidance to agencies on their "timing and considerations for agencies' provision of written notice to contractors regarding enforcement of contract clauses implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042 and agencies’ addition of such clauses to contracts and solicitations, except as barred by any applicable injunctions."
For more information on the Task Force guidance and contractor mandate, visit the Covid-19 page on Maynard Cooper's new government contracts blog, DiscussionsAndClarifications.com.
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