The White House is now awarding federal contractors greater flexibility in enforcing the covid-19 vaccine mandate during fears that the new edict might cause companies to drop their contracts with the government.
In new guidance released Monday morning, the Biden White House said it will now be up to those contractors how they want to deal with employees who refuse to accept the president’s executive order to be completely vaccinated by December 8.
“A covered contractor should decide the appropriate means for enforcement concerning its employee at a covered workplace who does not accept the vaccine and has not even provided, or does not possess a pending accommodation request,” the guidance says. “This might include the contractor using its normal processes for workplace rules, such as those dealt with in the contractor’s union bargaining agreements or employee handbooks.”
President Biden had previously enacted executive orders that enforce the vaccine for every federal employee and for companies with contracts with the federal government.
He also dictated that businesses with over 100 employees must implement vaccine requirements, although for these companies, proof of regular coronavirus tests can be used in place of a worker getting the vaccine.
The guidance also says that one model on which the contractors can use their noncompliance policies is the one used by the federal government.
“Guidance for government agencies is to use enforcement policy that encourages acceptance, including through limited counseling, followed by more disciplinary measures if needed,” the guidance said, adding that removal of a worker only happens after noncompliance continues.
Also, federal contractors will not get forced to hand over proof of their companies’ covid vaccine rates by the December 8 deadline, a top administration official said to CNBC, although noncompliance with the mandate might result in businesses losing their federal contracts.
News about the greater flexibility comes after some of the companies have objected to the idea that all federal contractors need to have their employees vaccinated without a testing exemption.
Eric Hoplin, the current CEO of the National Assc. of Wholesaler-Distributors, has said that if the new rules are enforced, thousands of employees will get laid off and the nation’s supply chain issues will get a lot worse.
“NAW urges for the Executive Order’s to be revised to avoid this issue and give alternatives to support safety and testing, and consider a short delay to give time to conduct changes and to avoid more supply chain issues in the coming months,” he said.
Author: Steven Sinclaire