Federal Vaccine Mandates: Step-by-Step Compliance Guide for Community Action

This step-by-step compliance guide is intended to help the Community Action network navigate the employee vaccination mandates announced by OSHA, Head Start, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We describe the planning process your CAA should consider as you develop and update your policies to reflect the new requirements. We also provide template policies and additional resources to assist CAAs in preparing for and implementing the mandates. We will update this resource as additional guidance is issued and legal developments arise.

1/13/22: The OSHA vaccine-or-test mandate has been blocked nationwide by the U.S. Supreme Court. The CMS vaccine mandate has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and is currently in effect.

1/3/22: The Head Start Interim Final Rule establishing the Head Start vaccination and masking mandate has been preliminarily enjoined in 25 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant recipients in those 25 states are not required to comply with the rule pending future developments in the litigation.

In general, a CAA’s vaccine policy will include sections that:

  • Define who is covered by the policy;
  • Outline the vaccination, testing, and masking requirements for covered individuals;
  • Detail procedures to document vaccination status and testing results;
  • Require employees to promptly provide notice of positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 diagnosis;
  • Remove any employee who received positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 diagnosis; and
  • Specify disciplinary action for noncompliance.

CAAs subject only to the OSHA ETS may use either of the following CAPLAW templates:

CAAs with Head Start may also be subject to the OSHA ETS. CAAs subject to both mandates must require those covered by the Head Start mandate to get vaccinated, but may opt to allow non-Head Start employees to test weekly or get vaccinated. As a result, these CAAs have to think about their compliance strategy, which will then dictate the compliance deadlines that apply to them.

This resource is part of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Legal Training and Technical Assistance Center. It was created by CAPLAW in the performance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, Cooperative Agreement Award Number 90ET0467-03-C3. Any opinion, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.