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Who Needs to be Vaccinated in the Construction Industry?

The phrase “mandatory vaccination” has become a very popular term in this season, but who does it actually apply to in the construction industry and how will it be implemented? Currently, the federal government is attempting to require covid vaccines through two different vehicles that will directly affect the construction industry. There are serious ramifications if you don’t understand the new mandates and what is expected of you in your contracts and of your workforce. It is so important that you are aware of these updates to best protect your company and workforce, especially in this ever-changing season.


The First Vehicle - All Federal Contractors Must be Vaccinated

The government has issued a mandate requiring that all people or companies who contract with the federal government be vaccinated regardless of how many employees they have or whether they will be at the federal property.

This will be enforced through contracts; every person or company that contracts directly with the federal government (the Prime Contractor) will have a requirement in their contract that all their employees will be vaccinated.

Further, there will be a requirement with anyone the Prime Contractor hires that 100% of their employees must be vaccinated and any sub’s subs as well. If you only supply materials to federal projects, the vaccine mandate does not apply to you. This vaccine-required language will be included in all contracts issued by the federal government on or after November 14, 2021.


If you are currently in a contract with the federal government, will the vaccine mandate apply to you?

It depends on the terms of the contract. If the federal government has reserved the right to change the contract without your approval, they can change the terms and require the vaccine. Also, if your contract has an option or needs to be extended, the federal government will add the vaccine requirement to your contract at either of these points.  The current stay issued by the fifth circuit court does not apply to this rule for government contractors, meaning this vaccine mandate will take effect as planned.


The Second Vehicle - All Companies with more than 100 Employees Must be Vaccinated or Tested Weekly

The other way the federal government is attempting to enforce a vaccine mandate is through emergency OSHA measures. The “Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard” issued by OSHA requires that all companies that employ 100 or more people keep records to prove all their employees are vaccinated or are tested weekly and always wear a mask.

The fifth circuit court has currently stopped the enforcement of this Emergency Temporary Standard. Currently, as written, employers who fall within reach of the Emergency Temporary Standard are required to comply by January 4, 2022. 


Will the January 4, 2022, date be extended because of the stay issued by the fifth circuit court?

We currently don’t know this for sure, so employers that fall under this method of enforcing the vaccine mandate should start preparing how to keep track of all the data they will need to produce if requested. The penalty for failing to follow the Emergency Temporary Standard once it can be enforced is up to $14,000 per violation.


As the coronavirus is still prevalent as ever, it is crucial you are aware of these important updates to protect your business. Stay up to date on the current mandates and changes that could directly affect your company and workforce. Mark your calendars with these important dates and take action now! These mandates are serious, and the fines are hefty. Know that if you act now and implement new regulations that comply with these federal mandates, you are on track to successfully protecting your company. 



About the Author:

Published author, award-winning lawyer, devoted wife and mother to three girls, and Owner and seasoned Managing Partner of The Cromeens Law Firm (TCLF), Karalynn Cromeens is a true jack of all trades. Karalynn is the Co-Founder of Morrell Masonry Supply and Owner of The Subcontractor Institute, an easy-access online educational platform for contractors. In addition to TCLF, and The Subcontractor Institute, she is also the Host of the rapidly growing educational construction podcast, Quit Getting Screwed - making cost-free industry insight available to contractors across the country. In 2021, Karalynn published two Amazon Best-Selling books - Quit Getting Screwed: Understanding and Negotiating the Subcontract and, in September, Quit Getting Stiffed: A Texas Contractor’s Guide to Liens & Collections.   

In the seventeen years she has practiced construction, real estate, and business law, Karalynn has reviewed and explained thousands of subcontracts. For years, she has tried saving companies that have signed problematic subcontracts and lost out on being paid for their work. Unfortunately, it was too late by the time they came to her; she could do nothing to help. She hated seeing clients lose money—sometimes their entire business—over language they did not understand and laws they did not know about. Watching these situations play out day after day was the driving force behind her two books, The Subcontractor Institute, and the firm’s accessibility efforts. Providing education to contractors on a national level has become Karalynn’s personal mission, and she is always doing what she can to help make it a reality.