Executive Order (EO) 14042 was issued under President Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic Plan. The EO initially required that all “covered” federal contractors/subcontractors be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022, except in cases of a medical or religious accommodation. However, on December 7, 2021, a judge in the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary nationwide injunction. Meaning, the federal government cannot enforce the requirements of the EO in any state until a final decision is made. Oral arguments regarding the mandate are not scheduled to be heard until the week of April 4, 2022.
Next Steps for Employers
Currently, covered employers are not required to comply with vaccine requirement of the EO, but employers must remember that the EO contained other workplace safety related measures and that those portions of the EO are still in effect, including masking, physical distancing, travel restrictions for unvaccinated workers, and other workplace safety provisions. The EO also requires covered employers to have a designated coordinator to oversee compliance with these requirements.
Federal contractors may still decide to voluntarily comply with the EO, as the injunction does not prohibit voluntary compliance, keeping in mind, any applicable state laws surrounding vaccine mandates.
HR Works will continue to monitor this and provide additional information as it becomes available.