President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan Mandates Vaccines for Many Employees

On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his six-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan, which will have a significant impact on employers across the country by mandating vaccinations for many employees. Many key details — including what exemptions may apply to mandatory vaccinations — remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided in the upcoming weeks.”

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President Biden Raises the Minimum Wage to $15 for Certain Federal Contractors

On April 27, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) requiring certain federal contractors to pay workers on government contracts at least $15 per hour beginning January 30, 2022. After 2022, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation at a rate set by the secretary of Labor (the secretary). The EO supported the minimum wage increase by stating that raising worker wages will promote efficiency in federal procurement through: (1) enhanced worker productivity and generation of higher-quality work from increased workers’ health, morale and effort; (2) reduced absenteeism and turnover; and (3) lowered supervisory and training costs.

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President Biden Repeals Executive Order 13950 Upon Taking Office

On his first day in office, President Biden issued the “Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” overturning President Trump’s “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (EO 13950), which had caused many contractors to postpone or cancel their diversity trainings and initiatives.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Federal District Court Issues Nationwide Temporary Ban on Executive Order 13950

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction banning the enforcement of Sections 4 and 5 of Executive Order 13950, a controversial federal directive purportedly enacted “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” by prohibiting federal contractors and grantees from inculcating such views in their diversity and inclusion workplace trainings. While the preliminary injunction represents a significant win for the government contracting community, it is not a permanent injunction. It remains to be seen whether the government will appeal the order, or whether the incoming Biden administration will rescind the Executive Order in its entirety.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

OFCCP Issues Last Directive Under CERT Principles for OFCCP Policies and Practices

When the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) first adopted the Certainty, Efficiency, Recognition and Transparency (CERT) principles, the agency’s aim was simple: Improve governance and help the federal contracting community better understand their obligations. With the December 15 release of the Certainty Directive — the fourth and final directive under the CERT principles — the OFCCP has established a process to ensure clarity, which commits the agency to ongoing review and clarification of its policies and practices.

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OFCCP Issues Final Rule to Clarify the Application of Executive Order 11246’s Religious Exemption

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) continued its clarity tour last week, publishing a final rule in the Federal Register regarding Executive Order 11246 and its religious exemption. The final rule explains the types of contractors that qualify for religious exemption and elucidates the latitude of such contractors to make employment-related decisions based on religion. The OFCCP maintains that its goal was to acknowledge case law permitting religious organizations to apply religious belief defenses to claims of alleged unlawful employment discrimination, but opponents believe the final rule impermissibly protects the free exercise of religion above protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community.

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