The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Biden Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for All Federal Employees and Certain Federal Contractors

On Thursday July 29, President Biden announced the release of preliminary guidelines for a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all federal employees. This decision is Biden’s most recent effort to promote vaccination nationwide and combat the spread of the Delta variant.

Overview of Vaccination Mandate Guidelines

  • Every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. (CUPA-HR will be working to get a sense of who and which properties fall under this requirement.)
  • Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel.
  • President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. (We will keep you apprised of updates regarding any further mandates for federal contractors.)
  • The administration will encourage employers across the private sector to follow this strong model.

Other Highlights

Small and medium-sized businesses will now be reimbursed for providing workers with paid time off to get vaccinated and for offering their employees paid leave to get their family members, including their children, vaccinated.

State-Level Efforts Already Under Way

New York — On July 28th, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly tests for COVID-19. Patient-facing healthcare workers at state-run hospitals will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Labor Day and will not have the option of opting instead for weekly tests in lieu of vaccination.

California — On July 26th, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings would be required to either show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or be tested at least once per week. This policy will take effect August 2 for state workers and August 9 for health care workers and congregate facilities.