On Sept. 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14042, which has been the focus of guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. Through this order and guidance, the federal government is requiring all federal contractors and subcontractors to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, including those who work at a university with federal contracts.
As federal contractors, and like most higher education institutions, the University of Alabama System campuses – including The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville – and Auburn University must comply with the Executive Order and accompanying guidance, unless that Executive Order is withdrawn or modified. Consequently, according to the provisions of the Executive Order at this time, the universities are obligated to ensure that employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8, 2021, unless they have an approved medical, disability, or religious exemption.
Because this vaccination requirement is mandated by the federal government, our institutions do not have flexibility in its application or enforcement. Failure to comply will place our universities in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars received through federal contracts and awards, as well as thousands of jobs funded by those dollars. This outcome would severely impact our institutions’ teaching, research and service capabilities and could hamper economic development activity.
Understanding these serious ramifications, the University of Alabama System campuses and Auburn University notified employees today of the vaccination requirement mandated by the federal government. In continued collaboration with educational enterprises across the State, both institutions will closely monitor the Executive Order and guidance.