President, Defense and Aerospace Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President, Federal Acquisition Council, Cyber, Space and National Security Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
September 14, 2021
OMB Call September 14th 2021, regarding EO for vaccines—"Path out of Pandemic Plan”
Guidance for Federal Contractors:
OMB -- more detailed advice coming on implementation. Goal is to get more vaccinated, etc. Overview of Biden plan. Where we are today. When Biden took office in January there were ~2M vaccinated and now ~75% of Americans over the age of 12 have at least one shot to date. Delta variant a challenge and progress is being made as many rise to the call for action. Goal is to vaccinate the ~80M remaining unvaccinated. As one part of this goal is a directive that all businesses with 100 employees or more must have employees vaccinated or tested on a regular basis. Peak time off component of the EO requires these companies to provide paid time off to their employees to get vaccinated.
Executive order extends the standards for federal staff to those companies who are on contract in various capacities with the U.S. government. There are some exemptions which will be detailed in the soon to be published implementation guidance. The health and safety of federal workers is the issue driving decisions to also mandate vaccinations for industries that interact with the Federal workforce.
EO specifics: Contractor safety protocols. Three specific requirements:
- Those on federal contracts performing work with feds and or on a federal installation must be vaccinated. By Sept 24th the FAR Council will issue safety requirements for companies. Fundamentally, the federal protocols for vaccination of its workforce will apply to all covered contractors and subcontractors. The guidance will track that issued by the CDC. The task force will issue guidance specific to a timeline for when vaccinations must be done for current contract employees as well as future new hires.
- Covered contractor employees will have to comply with masking and distancing requirements while on work sites as directed by CDC. Levels of area transmission; indoor versus outdoor; etc. will all be covered in this forthcoming guidance.
- Need to designate a person or persons as the focal for that company at covered sites.
September 18th FAR council will begin finalizing requirements for new contracts and new contract like instruments, new solicitations, extension or renewals and options on existing contracts. Operational date is October 15th.
OMB Task Force: Keeping track of various questions coming into the government and working to address those questions in the pending guidance. The following questions were covered during this call:
By when cab contractors expect direction? Section 6 of EO has phase in direction. Contracts prior to Oct 15th, requirement must be added at option or extension action. New contracts to be awarded Nov 14th or later will have this requirement. For those between Oct 15th and Nov 14th see the EO and published direction.
Consistent application across all agencies? FAR Council is leading the rule making effort. By Oct 8th they will have the new clause and issue direction to the Agencies. This will ensure consistent application.
Flow down? Yes, to all subs except those contracts for the sole provision of products.
Small businesses? Yes, they are included in this requirement. All contractors who are at federal sites performing services will be required to comply.
Definition of covered workplace and site? Working now on that definition and welcome industry input into that definition development.
Definition of covered contractor employees? This definition will also be included in the pending direction.
By September 24th Safer Fed task force guidance on three requirements listed above; by Oct 8th the FAR Council guidance to agencies on contract clause will be published; Oct 15th – Nov 14th will see implementation of the new clause and requirement.
Reference and follow this site: https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov will be where you can find all current guidance.
About the authors
Keith Webster, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Defense and Aerospace Council, guides the focus of the council to strengthen the U.S. defense and aerospace industries by influencing domestic and international policy on behalf of its members.