Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors

President Biden announced that vaccination will be required for contractors that do business with the federal government in his COVID-19 Action Plan (See “Vaccinating the Unvaccinated”). The president also signed the Executive Order 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors on September 9, 2021, which directs executive departments and agencies to implement this policy consistent with guidance to be issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

  • The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors [PDF] on September 24, 2021 which requires federal contractors and subcontractors with a covered contract to conform to th following workplace safety protocols:
    • COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation;
    • Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces; and
    • Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces.

The Task Force also provided an overview where they posted FAQs for federal contractors.

GSA Implementation of E.O. 14042

GSA Class Deviation

Virtual Industry Engagement Event

FAR Council Implementation

Visit Acquisition.gov for more information on the FAR Council's implementation of E.O. 14042 including the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) Class Deviation Letter.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - COVID Safety Protocols

The Safer Federal Workforce, Frequently Asked Questions, contains the most up-to-date information regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, applicable GSA safety standards can be found on the GSA Safer Federal Workplace page.

Please refer to the Safer Federal Workforce Vaccinations page for the most up-to-date information regarding access requirements to federal facilities.

For questions related to attestation forms and facility access, please see Safer Federal Workforce Vaccinations page for the most up-to-date information regarding access requirements to federal facilities. It covered contractor employees must comply with agency safety requirements while in federal workplaces.

GSA is awaiting clarification from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on whether testing is required for contractor employees who are legally entitled to an accommodation.

Contracting officers may exercise discretion to extend performance if they determine an extension would be appropriate to address performance impacts that directly result from a contractor's compliance with the Safer Federal Workforce Guidance.

Contracting officers and contracting officer's representatives are encouraged to use their discretion. Ensuring a vaccinated workforce is a high national priority.

  • There is no contractor cost for vaccination, and vaccination is widely available. The implementation of the clause will decrease the spread of COVID-19, which will decrease worker absence, reduce labor costs, and improve the efficiency of contractors.
  • Upcoming OSHA guidance gives companies with 100 or more employees the option of vaccination or weekly testing. The deviation will be less expensive for Federal contractors.
  • Accordingly, the cost of implementing the safeguards required by the deviation is expected to be offset by the cost avoidance of lost productivity.
  • Claims or requests for equitable adjustment due to COVID-19 vaccination should be submitted to your Contracting Officer, who will review the request accordingly.

Covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated no later than December 8, 2021.

Per the Executive Order, the clause applies to all services and construction above the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) and simplified lease acquisition threshold (SLAT). Per the guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, agencies are strongly encouraged to include it in contracts for the manufacturing of products. GSA is following this guidance and is strongly encouraging it.

Yes, if an IDIQ contract is modified to include the new clause, it applies to existing and future orders.

The EO includes all covered contractor employees, including contractor or subcontractor employees in covered contractor workplaces who are not working on a federal government contract or contract-like instrument, except covered contractor employees who only perform work outside of the United States or its outlying areas. Please see the Safer Federal Workplace Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.

GSA will send modification requests to existing contract holders. Contracting officers will send the cover letter with the modification request to contractors. Please see the GSA Class Deviation.

The Safer Federal Workforce website, Frequently Asked Questions contains the most up-to-date information regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, acceptance is not mandatory but strongly encouraged for contracts whose value is equal or less than the SAT. If you hold a contract at or below the SAT/SLAT or a contract only for the manufacturing of products, GSA strongly encourages you to accept the modification.

Please see the GSA Class Deviation and PBS/FAS Specific Guidance.

Last Reviewed: 2021-10-14