Biden says federal agencies can delay firing non-compliant workers until after the holidays

Politics

FILE – President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Nov. 22, 2021. The Biden administration on Friday, Nov. 26, called for an overhaul of the nation’s oil and gas leasing program to focus on areas that are most suitable for energy development and raise costs for energy companies to drill on public lands and water. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVO) — The White House is delaying enforcement of a federal vaccine mandate policy until after the holidays, according to a memo obtained by ABC News.

All federal employees have been ordered to get a COVID-19 vaccine by November 22nd or face suspension or be fired.

The White House says 92% of the Federal workforce has complied with the requirement and received at least one dose.

“We have been clear that the goal of the Federal employee vaccination requirement is to protect Federal workers, not to punish them. Last week’s deadline was not an endpoint or a cliff. We are continuing to see more and more Federal employees getting their shots,” the memo said.

“We encourage your agencies to continue with robust education and counseling efforts through this holiday season as the first step in an enforcement process, with no subsequent enforcement actions, beyond that education and counseling and, if warranted, a letter of reprimand, for most employees who have not yet complied with the vaccination requirement until the new calendar year begins in January,” it continued.

Last week, the Biden administration asked a federal court to let it move ahead with a workplace rule that would require employees at larger companies to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing.

Republican state attorneys general, conservative organizations and some businesses argued that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration lacked the authority to mandate vaccines and were able to persuade a separate federal court to issue a stay of the workplace rule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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