Friday, December 4, 2015

New and Improved FAR Regulations

The FAR Councils unloaded a gaggle of interim and final regulations today.

We have discussed most of these changes on these pages including the prohibition on contracting with income tax deadbeats, prohibitions on discriminating against sexual orientation or gender identity, minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, and whistleblower protections for contractor employees.

Specifically, the new rules cover the following:

Prohibition on contracting with corporations with delinquent taxes or a felony conviction. This interim rule prohibits the Federal Government from entering into contracts with corporations having a delinquent federal tax liability or a felony conviction under any federal law, unless an agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and has made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the Government's interests.

Prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This finalizes an interim rule from April of this year.

Contractor reporting of veterans' employment. This is an interim rule that requires contractors (and subcontractors) to annually report the number of employees who belong to the categories of veterans protected under VEVRAA (Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act).

Enhancing contractor whistleblower protections. This is a final rule replacing an interim rule from 2013. Unless Congress intervenes, the rule expires in 2017.

Retention periods for contract files. This is a final rule that generally reduces the time period for retaining contract files. Contractors seeking FOIA information or records under discovery may have to act quicker.

Establishing minimum wage for contractors. This is a final rule replaceing an interim rule from 2014. The minimum wage for contracts awarded after January 1, 2015 is $10.10 per hour. The rule provides for adjustments based on changes in specified indices.

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