Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Federal Employees and COVID-19 Vaccination Attestations: Immediate Takeaways

CRS Legal Sidebar – LSB10633| Federal Employees and COVID-19 Vaccination Attestations: Immediate Takeaways August 6, 2021: “Executive Order 1399 established the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) to provide ongoing guidance to heads of executive agencies on government operation and employee safety during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.On July 29, 2021, the Task Force issued revised “model safety principles” to executive agencies and departments. Among other safety principles, this guidance instructs federal agencies to determine the vaccination status of federal employees and onsite contractors, and requires employees and onsite contractors to “sign an attestation confirming their vaccination status.” Those who decline to provide an attestation must wear a mask and be subject to testing and other safety measures. This effort to promote COVID-19 vaccination, similar to some state and municipal employers’ requirements, follows newly reported increases in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations attributable to the spread of the contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. While some news reports have colloquially described the Task Force’s guidance as a “vaccine mandate,” receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is not required under the policy. Unlike vaccination mandates that require employees to either receive COVID-19 vaccination or obtain an exemption as a condition of employment—such as the vaccination requirement recently imposed by the Veterans Health Administration on its medical employees—the Task Force provides employees and onsite contractors with the option to either attest to full vaccination status or adhere to specified safety measures. This Sidebar begins by providing background on the Task Force and the vaccination attestation policy. It then describes the primary authorities federal agencies may employ to implement the policy and relevant constitutional considerations. Next, the Sidebar discusses key requirements under federal anti discrimination laws that may inform the implementation of the guidance. Finally, the Sidebar briefly considers whether COVID-19 vaccines’ current emergency use authorization (EUA) status affects the federal government’s ability to impose requirements related to vaccination..”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.