The Executive Order Impact on COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors



On December 7th a federal district court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction blocking the federal government from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors (and subcontractors) as set forth in Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force’s Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (“Task Force Guidance”).

Under the Task Force Guidance, covered contractors and subcontractors were initially required to have employees “fully vaccinated” by December 8, 2021, but, in November, the deadline was extended to January 18, 2022.

The federal government will certainly appeal the decision. In the interim, though, the federal district court decision will likely give federal contractors and subcontractors additional time to review whether they are a covered contractor (or subcontractor) and, if so, the flexibility to wait for further developments in the litigation before implementing any of the requirements of the Executive Order.

This Executive Order has far-reaching implications for both new and existing federally funded projects, and it has been interpreted to extend to the national electrical grid, steam lines supplying heating to buildings, and offsite mechanical equipment, well beyond contractors physically on site.

It is essential to understand that the Executive Order applies to businesses of all sizes servicing federal contracts (or contract-like instruments) valued at over $250,000, and the requirement to comply is based on the flow-down provisions of a company’s contracts. It also likely applies to both prime contractors and subcontractors working for a prime contractor on any federally funded project over the SAT (Simplified Acquisition Threshold).

The report from New Horizons Foundation covers the following implications for contractors to comply with the Executive Order:

  • Potential Cost Implications
  • Recommended Actions
  • Enforcement
  • Sample Contract Change Order Language