On Thursday, November 4, the Biden administration pushed back the deadline for compliance with the vaccination policy from December 8 to January 18, 2022. This means federal contractor employees must have their final vaccination by January 4, 2022 to meet the new deadline. The reason for the change was to provide a single target date for both the contractor mandate and the new large employer requirements issued by OSHA.
One thing to remember is that while the OSHA requirements allow testing in lieu of vaccination, the contractor mandate has not changed and still does not offer that option. The mandatory vaccination requirement still stands for federal contractors unless an employee qualifies for the medical or religious exemption.
The Thursday announcement also made clear that federal contractors need only comply with the contractor vaccine mandate. The OSHA standards for large employers, the CMS standards for health care workers, and any other federal standards will not be applicable to federal contractors so there is no requirement to track multiple compliance requirements.
While there have already been multiple law suits filed against the government over the various federal vaccine policies, it seems likely that the contractor vaccine mandate will survive because it is being implemented as a contract requirement and not a social policy for which there is questionable authority. For this reason, C2 is recommending that our federal contractor clients proceed with implementation.
If you have already issued a policy that mandates compliance by December 8, C2 is recommending that you leave it in place and just exercise discretion with respect to any employee who misses the December 8 deadline but is proceeding in good faith towards compliance, either by vaccination or application for an exemption.