Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
The White House on November 4 announced that the deadline for employers covered by the federal contractor vaccine requirement to comply with the vaccine mandate will be extended from December 8, 2021 to January 4, 2022. According to a Fact Sheet, in order to “make it easy for businesses and workers to comply,” the deadline for covered workers to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – “will be the same for the OSHA rule, the CMS rule, and the previously-announced federal contractor vaccination requirement” – i.e., no later than January 4, 2022.
This is very good news for federal contractors that have been struggling to meet the original December 8 deadline to have covered employees fully vaccinated. It is also good news for those contractors that would like to proceed slowly in order to see what happens to the pending legal challenges to the implementation of the federal contractor COVID-19 workplace safety mandates.
Note, however, that this change in the deadline for full vaccination does not change covered federal contractors’ obligations to comply with other aspects of the mandates such as masking and distancing requirements. Also, in order to fully comply with the federal contractor mandate, employers still need to be moving forward now to get covered employees vaccinated given the amount of time required to receive both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. This includes identifying non-vaccinated employees, attempting to obtain voluntary compliance through education and, possibly, incentives, determining the corrective action process to be used for covered employees that remain unwilling to comply, and developing contingency plans for dealing with the possibility of losing critical employees.