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Federal contractors have until Jan. 4 to ensure compliance by all employees covered by the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requirement to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The new effective date is four weeks later than the original Dec. 8 deadline.
Amid widespread concerns about employee resignations or terminations and the potential risks of inadequate compliance with the mandate, the task force on Nov. 1 updated the resources available for contractors to include more-detailed guidance addressing specific safety protocols, scope and applicability of the guidelines, and compliance.
One complication for employers has been that President Joe Biden’s executive order mandate differs from the policy and regulation emerging through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency temporary standard process. Some businesses will have both federal contractor employees covered by the executive order and a workforce in the commercial sector subject to the vaccine-or-test policy for employees.
A senior White House official said on a call with reporters that moving the deadline was a decision “to align it to make it as easy as possible for businesses to implement and for workers to comply.”
The new deadline is after the Christmas shopping season, the nationwide economic success of which is dependent on a functioning supply chain and uninterrupted logistics.
Raytheon Technologies Corp. CEO Gregory Hayes, speaking during the company’s third quarter earnings call Oct. 26, provided a major contractor’s perspective and said the company anticipated “some disruption in both the supply chain and with our customers,” caused by implementation of the federal contractor mandate.
Pushback against the White House mandate also included letters to the administration from Republican members of Congress.
Rep. Rob Wittman (Va.) led nine other members of the Armed Services Committee joined by Rep. Bill Posey (Fla.) on a letter Oct. 22 expressing their concern the vaccine requirement will “harm the livelihood of civilian contractors, industry partners, and strategic goals of our armed services.”
All but one Republican member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee signed on to a letter released Nov. 3 requesting the production of documents and data related to the federal contractor vaccine mandate.
To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda H. Allen in Washington at email@example.com