The Biden Administration on Nov. 4, 2021, announced that it is revising the deadline for the federal contractor vaccination requirement from Dec. 8, 2021, to "no later than January 4, 2022." The White House is revising the federal contractor deadline to align with the vaccination deadlines under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule (requiring healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) rule (requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis).

Other key takeaways from the administration's announcement:

  • The newly released OSHA rule will not be applied to workplaces subject to the federal contractor requirement or the CMS rule.
  • Both OSHA and CMS are taking the position that their rules preempt any inconsistent state or local laws, including those that ban or limit an employer's authority to require vaccination, masks or testing.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force updating its frequently asked questions on the vaccine mandate, including guidance allowing contractors greater flexibility in how they respond to unvaccinated employees. (See Holland & Knight's Government Contracts Blog, "Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Issues Updated FAQs on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate," Nov. 3, 2021.)

The revised deadline for federal contractors is not yet available in the Federal Register or on the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force's website, but Holland & Knight will continue to monitor and provide updates as they become available.

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