AFGE Local 476 header

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about COVID-19 issues at HUD, see our general COVID-19 page.

Yes, all federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, witha few exceptions explained below.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Federal employees must be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021. This means that you must receive your last dose of the vaccine no later than November 8, 2021.

No. Employees may get any vaccine dose on duty time. This includes booster doses when appropriate. Employees may take up to four hours for travel time and getting the vaccine for each dose.

If you have a reaction to a vaccine dose that prevents you from working, you should get up to two workdays of administrative leave per dose. After the two days, you may use sick, annual, or other personal leave such as comp time or credit hours.

You also are entitled to up to four hours of administrative leave to accompany a family member to get a vaccine, for each dose of the vaccine.

Yes, there are limited circumstances where the law requires an exception. You may request a reasonable accommodation if you cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. HUD must determine whether each request for an exception is legally required.

No. The vaccine attestation form, which may be completed through HR Connect, is a voluntary form, which is stated on the linked Privacy Act statement. You do not have to fill out the form, but if you do not, you will be treated as if you are not fully vaccinated until you submit proof of vaccination.

Yes, employees who are not fully vaccinated because they are legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation must wear masks regardless of community transmission level, physically distance, and comply with travel requirements for not fully vaccinated individuals.

Yes, you must be fully vaccinated by November 22. This applies even if you do not report to the worksite because you work remotely or you telework full time, regardless of whether it is permanent or due to the pandemic.

No, testing in lieu of vaccination is not an option for most employees. It may be permitted for an employee who is granted an exception based on disability or sincerely held religious beliefs.

Yes, all employees must provide documentation, such as a copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, to prove vaccination, even if you already filled out an attestation form. Other documents may be acceptable, too. You don’t need to submit the original document; you may submit a digital copy, such as a digital photograph or PDF of the record, as long as it is clear and legible. You must certify under penalty of perjury that the documentation is true and correct.

If an employee claims a legally required exception as the reason for not being vaccinated, management should treat them as an employee who is not fully vaccinated while processing the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation.

If an employee’s request is denied, or an employee refuses to be vaccinated without having requested an accommodation, the agency may pursue disciplinary measures, up to and including removal from Federal service.

On-site contractor employees who are not yet subject to a contractual obligation to be vaccinated must provide information showing they are fully vaccinated, be regularly tested pursuant to an agency testing program, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that occurred within the three days prior to entry to a federal building.

Visitors must provide information showing they are fully vaccinated, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test that occurred within the three days prior to entry to a federal building, unless they are members of the public seeking a public service or benefit. Individuals entering to obtain a public service or benefit do not need to certify their vaccination status or show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result, but if they are not fully vaccinated, they must comply with all relevant CDC guidance and safety protocols, including mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements.

Yes. There are more than 100 years of legal precedent, including Supreme Court and other federal cases, upholding vaccination mandates in the interest of public health. Additionally, as the head of the Executive Branch, the President has the authority to determine that employee vaccinations are essential to the effectiveness of the federal workforce.

President Biden created the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to give the heads of federal agencies ongoing guidance to keep their employees safe and their agencies operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House COVID-19 Response Team, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) head the Task Force. Other Task Force members include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the United States Secret Service (USSS).

The guidance issued by the Task Force has the same weight and authority of other government-wide rules and regulations.

AFGE’s primary concern—at the Local, Council, and National levels— is for the health and safety of our members and the federal workers we represent. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to significantly reduce the likeliness of death or permanent injury after a COVID-19 infection. AFGE urges everyone who is able to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others. The CDC has found that unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19.

AFGE recognizes that individual members have different perspectives on vaccines, mask mandates, and social distancing. AFGE and other federal employee unions considered legal challenges to the Executive Order’s mandates. The courts at all levels have consistently rejected challenges to this type of mandate. Therefore, AFGE, like other federal employee unions, will not legally challenge the Executive Order requiring federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Within HUD, Council 222, with representation from Local 476, has demanded to bargain with management. We want to address issues such as:

  • Privacy of employees’ medical information
  • Administrative time to get vaccinated and to recover from any potential side effects
  • Exemptions for religious/medical reasons
  • Verification process for employees to show proof of vaccination
  • Mask mandates after full vaccination
  • Due process protections and consistency of penalties in disciplinary action