September 10, 2021 •
Biden EO: Federal Contractors and Sub-Contractors Must Follow Federal COVID-19 Safety Guidance
On September 9, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed two executive orders dealing with COVID-19: one requiring mandatory vaccinations for all federal employees and another requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to do the same. Biden, in a televised speech about the orders, said the first executive order “will now require all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated — all. And I’ve signed another executive order that will require federal contractors to do the same.”
The order concerning contractors requires executive departments and agencies, to the extent permitted by law, ensure that contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that the contractor and any subcontractors (at any tier) must incorporate into lower-tier subcontracts. The clause must specify that a contractor or subcontractor must, for the duration of the contract, comply with all guidance for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. By September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force will, as part of its issuance of Task Force Guidance, provide definitions of relevant terms for contractors and subcontractors, explanations of protocols required of contractors and subcontractors to comply with workplace safety guidance, and any exceptions to Task Force Guidance that apply to contractor and subcontractor workplace locations and individuals in those locations working on or in connection with a federal government contract.
With certain exceptions, this order applies to any new contract; new contract-like instrument; new solicitation for a contract or contract-like instrument; extension or renewal of an existing contract or contract-like instrument; and exercise of an option on an existing contract or contract-like instrument.
The order does not apply to grants, contracts or agreements with Indian Tribes under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, contracts or subcontracts whose value is equal to or less than the simplified acquisition threshold, employees who perform work outside the United States, and subcontracts solely for the provision of products.
The order states its purpose is “to promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with sources that provide adequate COVID-19 safeguards for their workforce.”
The order is effective immediately and applies to new contracts exercised, on or after October 15, 2021, with some exceptions.
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