The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued updated guidance this week to agencies in order to ensure compliance with currently applicable court orders that bar the enforcement of the vaccine mandate for Federal contractors in any U.S. state or outlying area.
For existing contracts that contain a vaccine mandate clause, the government will “take no action to enforce” the requirements, according to the OMB guidance obtained by MeriTalk.
“In all other circumstances, the government will enforce the clause, except for contractor employees who perform substantial work on or in connection with a covered contract in an excluded state or outlying area, or in a covered contractor workplace located in an excluded state or outlying area,” OMB said.
The excluded states and outlying areas include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands, and U.S. territories – where the court orders currently apply.
For existing contracts that do not contain a clause regarding the vaccine mandate, “the agency must not attempt to add a clause implementing requirements” of the mandate.
For future solicitations, OMB said if the “work under the contract to be awarded will be performed entirely in an excluded state or outlying area,” the solicitation should not contain a vaccine mandate clause. If the solicitation does include the clause, OMB instructed agencies to remove it.
For all other solicitations to which the vaccine mandate applies, the agency must include a vaccine mandate clause but note that it will not be enforced in the excluded states and outlying areas.
The guidance also noted that Federal agency COVID-19 workplace safety protocols still apply, and contractor employees must follow these protocols when working onsite.