Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces - First Steps to Implementation

Last July, the President signed Executive Order 13673, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces intending to improve contractor compliance with Federal labor laws bu helping those contractors with serious, willful, repeated, or pervasive violations come into compliance. We reported on this Executive Order (EO) a couple of time previously (see here and here). Basically, it requires contractors to self disclose recent violations of labor related laws and requires Federal agencies to "consider" the violations when deciding on who gets contracts.

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a joint memorandum directing agencies to hire within 90 days, labor compliance advisors (LCAs). LCAs are the one primarily responsible for implementing the EO within agencies. Specifically, the LCAs role is to promote awareness of and respect for the importance of labor law compliance through their interactions with senior agency officials, contracting officers, and contractors, while also meeting regularly with the DOL and LCAs from other executive departments and agencies to formulate effective and consistent practices government-wide.

LCAs must be career civil servants with sufficient authority to bring issues to the Deputy Secretary, Deputy Administrator, or equivalent official, the General Counsel, and other appropriate agency leadership as needed. Smaller agencies can share LCAs.

Among their various duties will be to develop guidance explaining when violations should be considered serious, willful, repeated, or pervasive. The FAR councils must also develop regulations that identify considerations for determining whether the serious, repeated, willful, or pervasive nature of the violations demonstrate a lack of responsibility.

The EO promises a measured level of assistance to contractors. Contractors (or prospective contractors) with labor violations will be offered the opportunity to receive early guidance from DOL and other enforcement agencies on whether those violations are potentially problematic, as well as the opportunity to remedy any problems. Agencies will be required to give appropriate consideration to any information offerors choose to provide regarding remedial measures or mitigating factors, including any agreements by contractors or other corrective action taken to address violations.

Finally, GSA (General Services Administration) is developing a website for federal contractors to use for reporting serious, willful, repeated, or pervasive labor violations.

No specifics yet on how serious, willful, repeated, or pervasive labor violations will affect the source selection process.

You can read the complete DOL/OMB guidance here.

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