The U.S. Department of Labor has issued its final rule requiring federal contractors to provide at least seven days or 56 hours of paid sick leave each year to employees who perform work on covered federal contracts.  This rule is the final implementation of Executive Order 13706, which President Obama issued in September 2015.  The new rule becomes effective on November 29, 2016, though in most instances, as discussed below, it will only be applicable to new contracts awarded on or after January 1, 2017.  Contractors should, however, take steps now to ensure compliance.

Continue Reading Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Requiring Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed new rules to implement Executive Order 13706, which requires certain federal contractors to provide qualifying employees with at least seven days of paid sick leave each year, including paid leave for family care. These new rules are scheduled to go into effect by September 30, 2016, and employers who contract with the federal government should prepare for their implementation now. Noncompliance could result in suspension of federal payments or even termination of a federal contract.

The new rules generally apply to any employer who contracts with the federal government, whether pursuant to a prime contract or a subcontract, provided that the contract is either: (1) covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA); (2) covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA); or (3) a contract in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents or the general public. A contract is covered by the DBA if the contract is in excess of $2,000 and the principal purpose of the contract is for the construction, alteration and/or repair of public buildings or public works. A contract is covered by the SCA if the contract is in excess of $2,500, and the principal purpose of the contract is to provide services in the United States through the use of service employees.


Continue Reading New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Rules Could Ensnare Unwary Federal Contractors

A Maryland-based construction company required to pay “prevailing wages” under a Federal government contract recently settled for $400,000 claims that it had violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by failing to properly supervise lower-level contractors in the payment of prevailing wages to their workers. The case serves as a reminder that government contractors who fail to ensure compliance with wage requirements – whether under the Davis-Bacon Act (“DBA”), Service Contract Act (“SCA”), or Walsh-Healy Public Contracts Act (“PCA”) – can face significant liability. It also highlights the ongoing expansion of the federal government’s battle against procurement fraud.

Many Government Contractors Are Subject to a Prevailing Wage Rate Requirement

Most government contractors who provide services; do construction, alteration or repair work on public buildings; or manufacture certain goods are subject to a prevailing wage requirement. Those requirements include geographically determined wage rates and fringe benefit rates set by the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) for various labor classifications. Where a government contract incorporates such a requirement, government contractors, including their subcontractors, are required to pay wages at least as high as the prevailing wage rates.


Continue Reading The Growing Risks of Non-Compliance with Wage Rate Determinations