White House Mandates Vaccines for Millions of Americans

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On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed two Executive Orders mandating COVID-19 vaccines for federal employees and for employees of federal contractors, and also signaled that the Department of Labor (DOL) would be issuing an Emergency Rule requiring vaccines for employers with 100 or more employees.

These sweeping mandates should have a dramatic effect on vaccine-resistant employees and on employers frustrated with them.

As to employees of the federal government, President Biden ordered them to be vaccinated, “subject to such exceptions as required by law,” which, generally speaking, involves religious or health-based exemptions. The second Executive Order specifically extended the mandate to employees of federal contractors, who now must comply with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

Certain government contracts – especially, grants or contracts with certain “Indian Tribes” – are exempted from the Order. This second Executive Order does not automatically apply to existing federal contracts, but rather to “new contracts; new contract-like instruments; new solicitations for contracts or contract-like instruments; extensions or renewals of existing contracts or contract-like instruments; and exercises on existing contracts or contract-like instruments” entered into, or extended on or after October 15, 2021.

President Biden also announced that the Department of Labor would imminently issue an Emergency Rule mandating vaccines for employees of employers with over 100 employees.

More information on the contours of that Emergency Rule should be forthcoming soon. We will keep you informed, once we know more.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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