On July 29, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. In line with this announcement, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, which was established earlier this year by Executive Order No. 13991 and oversees the development and implementation of agency COVID-19 workplace safety plans across the federal government, issued the COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Agency Model Safety Principles. Agencies are required to incorporate the Agency Model Safety Principles into their existing COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
Among other things, the Agency Model Safety Principles provide that:
- Onsite contractors will be asked to sign an attestation confirming their vaccination.
- If onsite contractors refuse to attest to their vaccination status, they will be treated as not fully vaccinated for purposes of safety protocols.
- Onsite contractors who are not fully vaccinated or decline to provide their vaccination status must wear a mask in all settings, physically distance, and comply with a weekly or twice-weekly screening testing requirement.
- Federal agencies must establish a program to test not fully vaccinated onsite contractors weekly or twice-weekly.
- Fully vaccinated onsite contractors do not need to physically distance, do not need to participate in weekly screening testing, and do not need to wear a mask in areas of low or moderate transmission.
- In areas of high or substantial transmission, all individuals must wear a mask in public indoor settings.
While the current mandate for federal contractors pertains to employees who work onsite at federal facilities, the White House stated that “President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors.”
Currently, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force encourages agencies to provide onsite contractors with the Certification of Vaccination form when they enter a federal building or federally-controlled indoor worksite. Onsite contractors will be directed to complete the Certification of Vaccination form and keep it on them during their time on federal premises. At this time, agencies will not maintain Certification of Vaccination forms from onsite contractors unless an agency has a system of records that covers its collection of this information from onsite contractors. Thus, onsite contractors should be prepared to show the Certification of Vaccination form upon entry to a federal building or federally-controlled indoor worksite and/or to a federal employee who oversees their work. Onsite contractors who are not fully vaccinated or refuse to attest to their vaccination status will either be enrolled in the agency’s testing program or required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous 3 days before entry to a federal building or federally-controlled indoor worksite.
As with everything related to COVID-19, we anticipate these policies will evolve especially in light of the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as well as the ongoing surge of the Delta variant. For more information regarding the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and the COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Agency Model Safety Principles, click here.