Susan Ebner Speaks on Defense Industry Reaction to Delayed White House Vaccine Deadline in Politico
Partner Susan Warshaw Ebner was recently quoted in Politico on the White House's shifting vaccine guidance and its effect on government contractors.
The White House announced on Thursday, November 4 that it was delaying its vaccine mandate for federal contractors by a month, setting a new deadline of January 4 for vaccination. The article described that it remains unclear how federal contractors will react when the deadline hits as many have resisted prior vaccine guidance. It also said that the evolving vaccine deadline could prove especially challenging for small defense suppliers that do not have the funds to hire attorneys or government affairs firms to track the guidance revisions.
“I think we all have to keep watching to see what changes are arising because it seems like every day there's another revision to the guidance and the requirements, and so I think contractors really have to be watching to see how things are changing," Ebner said. "And I think they probably need to be in communication with their contracting officers just to make sure that they're compliant."
The article stated that while it is too soon to speculate the effect of the vaccine mandate on federal contractors, it is likely that some will quit their jobs because of it.
Since publication of the article, the Safer Workforce Task Force Guidance and related Frequently Asked Questions were revised on November 10, 2021, to make clearer that the new January 4 date means that covered contractor employees are required to be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022 (vaccination on January 4 plus two weeks), unless a legal exception applies. After January 18, federal contractors will be required to have covered contractor employees vaccinated on day one of new contracts and when options or modifications under existing contracts are exercised.
This is an evolving area and changes to requirements for implementation of the vaccination mandate continue to be announced.
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Ebner represents businesses and nonprofits across a panoply of industries, including aerospace, communications, construction, defense, transportation, information technology, cybersecurity, healthcare, and more, on a broad spectrum of government contract and compliance matters, including bid protests, cyber security and supply chain risk, compliance program development and training, audits, investigations, claims, and dispute resolution. She counsels clients on federal research and development-related matters, including small business innovation research, other transactions, technology investment agreements, cooperative agreements and grants. She is also a lead blogger for Stinson's Government Contracting Matters blog. In addition, Ebner is the Immediate Past Chair of the American Bar Association Public Contract Law Section and Co-Chair of the National Defense Industrial Association Cyber Division Cyber Legal Policy Committee.