Fedweek

DoD has issued new workplace safety protocols that consolidate a series of prior guidance documents, in the process striking out — at least for now — references to the Biden administration’s Coronavirus vaccination mandate for its civilian employees.

The policy statement, which replaces nearly a dozen prior issuances, strikes out references to considering employee requests for exceptions for medical or religious reasons as well as record-keeping procedures related to such requests. However, those policies have not been deleted but rather are still present in strikeout form “for ease of reinstitution” if the mandate again is enforced, it says.

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The document was issued just ahead of a federal appeals court ruling overturning the nationwide injunction against the mandate that a district court had issued, although the administration has not yet told agencies to put the mandate back into effect.

The guidance does continue to include policies such as testing of unvaccinated employees where the community level of COVID-19 is at rates of medium or high and the procedures to be followed; requirements that supervisors ask employees whether they are vaccinated “if they have not already done so” and the acceptable documentation; steps to be taken if “there is a supervisory concern about the accuracy” of the employees’ response; and policies for granting administrative leave for employees to receive vaccinations.

It also consolidates prior guidance on general workplace policies including physical distancing, mask wearing, travel, meetings, workplace ventilation and cleaning, and more.

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