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Who is considered a federal employee?

President Biden issued a series of executive orders mandating covid-19 vaccination for those who are employed by the US government, who is affected?

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Who is considered a federal employee?
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

The Delta covid-19 variant has been pushing hospital systems across the US beyond capacity hitting unvaccinated pockets of the population especially hard. President Biden unveiled a sweeping plan on Thursday to tackle the spread of the highly transmissible variant including a vaccine mandate for those who work for the federal government and those who want to do business with the US government.

The new vaccine mandate will cover around 100 million workers, or about two thirds of the nation’s workforce. The hope is through the executive order that a sizeable portion of the nearly 80 million Americans who haven’t been vaccinated yet will be covered. "We've been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," President Biden told those Americans who haven’t gotten vaccinated.

Who are the federal employees that need to be vaccinated?

The US government directly employs around 4.25 million people according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. These workers include politicians, judges, officials and uniformed service members that work for the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of government. As well as civilians working in the Postal Service, law enforcement, public health, staffers and clerical workers at various government agencies.

When do the workers need to be vaccinated?

Prior to Thursday’s proclamation, President Biden had ordered that federal employees provide proof of vaccination or get tested. Now federal employees will face termination unless they get vaccinated in the next 75 days, with limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons.

Biden expands mandatory vaccination to those who work receive federal funding

The new covid-19 vaccine mandate will also cover healthcare workers whose hospital or institution receives funding through Medicare and Medicaid programs affecting over 17 million employees. Likewise, the workforce of schools run by the Department of Defense and Bureau of Indian Education and organizations that participate in Head Start Programs will have to get vaccinated if they haven’t already, covering around 300,000 workers.

Federal contractors and their employees will also be required to get vaccinated. “If you want to work with the federal government, do business with us, get vaccinated,” President Biden said. “If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce.” The executive order lays out that the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force will provide guidance for contractors and subcontractors by 24 September for how to implement the policy.