On September 30, the Federal Acquisition Council released the Federal Acquisition Regulations Clause 52.223-99, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. The Clause requires federal contractors to follow Biden’s Executive Order, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors issued on September 9, 2021 and the additional Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance released on September 24, 2021.
The FAR Clause itself does not expand further on the application of the new rule. However, the General Services Administration (GSA) simultaneously issued a memorandum for GSA Contracting Officers with instructions on including the FAR clause in solicitations, new contracts, and existing contracts. While much of the memorandum is a restatement of the Executive Order and Guidance, the memorandum states clearly that the vaccine mandate will apply to all GSA Schedule contracts whether or not they are solely for supplies. The memorandum states in relevant part as follows:
Federal Supply Schedule (FSS): FAS COs shall incorporate the clause at FAR 52.223-99, in all new and existing FSS contracts above the micro-purchase threshold, including contracts that are solely for products. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance strongly encourages agencies to incorporate the clause into contracts that are solely for products. It is not administratively feasible to distinguish FSS contracts that are solely for products from FSS contracts that are primarily for products but also include ancillary-type services (e.g., installation, maintenance, training, ancillary services acquired via the Order-Level Materials SIN, etc.). Requiring the clause in all FSS contracts will simplify compliance tracking, vendor communication, and customer messaging efforts.
The memorandum states that contractors will soon receive a letter and a bilateral modification incorporating the new clause into existing contracts. GSA will most likely release the modification in the form of a Refresh modification. The modification has to be accepted and returned to the contracting officer by November 14, 2021 to be eligible for new orders under the GSA Schedule contract. GSA also directs that a failure to agree to the modification will result in a contractor’s information being hidden on GSA e-tools and/or flagging contractors as non-compliant.
If you have any questions about this legal update, please reach out to the Government Contracts group.