The Biden Administration is Ending the Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors
On May 1, 2023, the Biden Administration announced that it will be ending the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for “Federal employees, Federal Contractors, and international air travelers.” This will likely bring an end to a months-long period of litigation and confusion for Federal Contractors.
In September 2021, President Biden had issued Executive Order 14042 which required all federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, among other COVID-19 safeguards (the “Vaccine Mandate”). The Biden Administration, through Executive Order 13991, established the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) to provide guidance to federal agencies on how to implement COVID-19 safeguards. However, mostly due to a number of state-specific injunctions blocking the enforcement of the Vaccine Mandate, the Vaccine Mandate is currently not being enforced. On October 19, 2022, the Task Force and the Office of Management and Budget directed federal agencies to wait for further guidance before requiring contractors and subcontractors to come into compliance with the implementation of Executive Order 14042. See October 19, 2022 Task Force Update Regarding Executive Order 14042. This left contractors in a difficult spot, where there was a valid Executive Order in place but no apparent desire by the federal government to enforce the Vaccine Mandate.
The Biden Administration’s recent announcement of the ending of the Vaccine Mandate will mean that federal contractors and subcontractors will no longer have to worry about being out of compliance with their federal contractual obligations as to any vaccine mandates. The Biden Administration announced that the vaccine requirements will end at the end of the day on May 11, 2023. This is the same day as the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Federal Contractors should be on the lookout for guidance from contracting agencies and the federal government for official notification of the ending of the Vaccine Mandate.
If you have any questions about how the end of the Vaccine Mandate may affect your business or any other compliance questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.