Updated Vaccine Mandate Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force yesterday issued guidance on reasonable accommodations as exceptions to the vaccine mandate.
The Task Force provided templates for agencies to use to develop forms for employees to request medical and religious exemptions. Employees whose reasonable accommodation requests are denied will have two weeks from that denial to receive their first dose or, if a one-dose series, only vaccination dose.
Employees who receive a reasonable accommodation exception or whose vaccination is delayed must follow masking, social distancing and testing protocols as well as applicable travel guidance for not fully vaccinated individuals. The Task Force indicated there will be additional guidance for testing protocols for individuals who are excepted from the vaccination requirement.
The FAQs also listed several scenarios where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends delaying COVID-19 vaccination, including for employees who have previously had COVID-19 or have certain other medical conditions. The CDC recommends that people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant now or in the future get vaccinated. An agency may allow an employee to delay vaccination based on the employee’s particular medical situation using the reasonable accommodation process. Agencies should consider these on a case-by-case basis, the Task Force said.
The Task Force’s updated reasonable accommodation guidance has answered some questions, but it has also raised several more questions that NTEU will seek answers to. NTEU is analyzing this new guidance and will have more information to share soon, including updates to our FAQs page.