On Nov. 1, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force posted new frequently asked questions for federal contractors, whose covered employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8 unless the contractor is legally required to provide an accommodation for medical or religious reasons. The new FAQs cover vaccination and safety protocols, scope and applicability of task force guidance for federal contractors and compliance.
Several new FAQs were posted, including:
Q: What steps should a covered contractor take if a covered contractor employee refuses to be vaccinated?
A: A covered contractor should determine the appropriate means of enforcement with respect to its employee at a covered contractor workplace who refuses to be vaccinated and has not been provided, or does not have a pending request for, an accommodation. This may include the covered contractor using its usual processes for enforcement of workplace policies, such as those addressed in the contractor’s employee handbook or collective bargaining agreements. One model for enforcement among employees with respect to noncompliance with a vaccination requirement is that being followed by Federal agencies. Guidance for Federal agencies is to utilize an enforcement policy that encourages compliance, including through a limited period of counseling and education, followed by additional disciplinary measures if necessary. Removal occurs only after continued noncompliance. Guidance for Federal agencies is that employees should not be placed on administrative leave while the agency is pursuing an adverse action for refusal to be vaccinated but will be required to follow safety protocols for employees who are not fully vaccinated when reporting to agency worksites. During the time period of enforcement, the covered contractor must ensure the covered contractor employee at a covered contractor workplace is following all workplace safety protocols for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. An agency may determine that a covered contractor employee who refuses to be vaccinated in accordance with a contractual requirement pursuant to EO 14042 will be denied entry to a Federal workplace, consistent with the agency’s workplace safety protocols.
Q: What steps should an agency take if a covered contractor does not comply with the requirements in the Task Force’s Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors?
A: Covered contractors are expected to comply with all requirements set forth in their contract. Where covered contractors are working in good faith and encounter challenges with compliance with COVID-19 workplace safety protocols, the agency contracting officer should work with them to address these challenges. If a covered contractor is not taking steps to comply, significant actions, such as termination of the contract, should be taken.
The other new FAQs can be found on the Safer Federal Workforce website.
ABC has developed a resource and guidance document for ABC chapters and members to learn about the latest updates and ABC actions on the new federal vaccination mandates. The document, which is updated frequently, includes federal guidance, ABC advocacy letters, Newsline articles, press releases, ABC earned media coverage and more.
In addition, ABC’s coronavirus update webpage contains a section for federal contractors. Learn more details about the issue at abc.org/coronavirus.