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President Obama signed the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order (E.O. 13673) on July 31, 2014 that places new requirements on companies that have contracts with the federal government that equal or exceed $500,000. On May 28th, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) issued proposed guidance (“DOL Guidance”) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (“FAR”) Council issued proposed regulations (“FAR Proposed Rule”) regarding E.O. 13673. These proposals require government contractors and subcontractors to report workplace law violations of 14 federal laws and numerous (as of yet) undetermined state statutes found by administrative agencies, the courts, and arbitrators during the past three years. This reporting is required for each contract that meets or exceeds the $500k threshold and is also required, once the contract is awarded, to report such violations every six months. Subcontractors, according to these proposed rules, are to report violations to the contractors who will in turn report them to government officials. The FAR Council, however, is contemplating having subcontractors report violations directly to government officials.
Under the Executive Order, the Contracting Officer (CO) and a designated “Labor Compliance Advisor” (“LCA”) will review the employer’s violations to determine whether the contractor has committed violations that are of a serious, willful, repeated, and/or pervasive nature. The government will consider an employer’s record of violations when deciding whether to award future contracts, cancel existing contracts, and potentially demand remedial action to address a pattern of violations. Employers who would become subject to this E.O. need to be aware that even minor violations could result in being 'blacklisted" from receiving government contracts. This is a prime example that requirements for doing business with the federal government contiune to grow.
This E.O. which is referred to by some in the business community as the “Blacklisting Order” has a 60 day comment period ending July 27, 2015. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has filed a request for an extension to the comment period due to the E.O.’s complexities for both employers and government investigators charged with the implementation of this order. Instructions from submitting comments on E.O. 13673 are as follows:
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ZRIN 1290-ZA02, by either of the following methods:
Electronic comments: Comments may be sent via http://www.regulations.gov, a Federal E-Government Web site that allows the public to find, review, and submit comments on documents that agencies have published in the Federal Register and that are open for comment. Simply type in "guidance on fair pay and safe workplaces" (in quotes) in the Comment or Submission search box, click Go, and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: Address written submissions to Tiffany Jones, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-2312, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.
Instructions: Please submit only one copy of your comments by only one method. All submissions must include the agency name and ZRIN, identified above, for this document. Please be advised that comments received will become a matter of public record and will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Comments that are mailed must be received by the date indicated for consideration.
To view the Administration’s fact sheet on E.O. 13673, go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/31/fact-sheet-fair-pay-and-safe-workplaces-executive-order.
CAI will keep you informed of futher developments regarding the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" E.O. In the meantime please feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions or require additional clarification; I can be reached at (919) 878-9222.