Exercising its authority under Section 6(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on June 21, 2021. The ETS sets forth safety standards for employers (including federal contractors) with employees working in a healthcare setting—the workers OSHA has determined are at highest risk for workplace exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Healthcare employers are expected to comply with the primary ETS requirements as of July 6, 2021, while compliance with additional requirements concerning physical barriers, ventilation, and training is mandated as of July 21, 2021. OSHA is inviting comments on the ETS, including whether it should become a final rule. The deadline to submit comments regarding the ETS and whether it becomes a final rule is July 21, 2021, and the deadline to comment on the information collection determination is August 20, 2021.

Continue Reading The Compliance Deadline for OSHA’s COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard Is Here. Are You Ready?

In the months since President Biden took office, legislators have tried—and thus far failed—to pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. While the debate rages on, the Biden-Harris administration has taken executive action to ensure that some workers receive a higher wage for work under federal contracts. On April 27, 2021, President Biden issued the Executive Order on Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors, which will have a (relatively) short-term impact on thousands of contractors and their employees. The Executive Order aims to “promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with sources that adequately compensate their workers.” It would increase the minimum wage paid by federal contractors from $10.95 per hour to $15 per hour. The increased minimum wage will begin appearing in solicitations and contracts, and thereby subcontracts, in early 2022, and contractors should begin preparing now to meet the increased minimum wage requirements.

Continue Reading Raising the Wage: Biden-Harris Administration Dramatically Increases Minimum Wage for Federal Government Contractors

On April 18, 2017, at the headquarters of Snap-On Incorporated, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer, Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American, Hire American”. The Hire American portion, explained in all of two paragraphs in Section 5, requires the Attorney General and Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to “consistent with applicable law, propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system”. The second paragraph is a bit more specific inasmuch as it states that these folks ought to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” Among those in attendance were likely Snap-On’s H-1B employees, since the company is a perennial petitioner for H-1B workers at its Kenosha, Wisconsin location.[1]
Continue Reading Buy and Hire American, to the Extent Possible – Federal Publications Seminars

Following up on his repeated promises that the government will buy American and hire American, President Trump signed a Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American (the “Order”) on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, directing executive agencies to enhance acquisition preferences for domestic products and labor under federal contracts and federal grants. Federal contractors should note that the Order serves only as a blueprint for the administration’s intentions and imposes no immediate requirements. Those will follow — but in what form and to what degree, we can only guess. Contractors should prepare for those changes and be assured that – with respect to the Order’s impact on supply chains and contractor purchasing systems – the devil will indeed be in the details.

Continue Reading The Buy American–Hire American Executive Order: There Will Be Devils in the Details When Buying American

One common complaint we hear from our subcontractor clients is “HOW CAN WE GET PAID????” Our experience has shown that whether through inadvertence, lack of subcontract management resources – or even as a predatory business strategy – some prime contractors will dance, dither and delay upon receipt of requests for payment by their subs for work performed, services rendered and/or products delivered. This can be particularly onerous for small business subcontractors whose payroll and other obligations depend upon prompt payment by their customers. Subs are put in an untenable position. Should they stop work and risk breach of contract? Should they threaten to sue and risk breaching the relationship? New changes to the FAR now impose mandatory reporting obligations on primes should they fail to make timely and full payments to their small business subs. Chronic and unjustified payments now must go into an agency’s evaluation of the prime’s past performance in bidding contests. Primes are well advised to make sure their supply chain management is in order to minimize the additional obligations and risks confronting them should they fail to meet their obligations to their small business subs.
Continue Reading New FAR Changes Incentivize Prime Contractors Not to Be Deadbeats in Meeting Their Payment Obligations to Their Small Business Subcontractors

New FAR Rules and U.S. Department of Labor Guidance Implement the Long-Anticipated (and Much-Dreaded) Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

Burdensome disclosure obligations, pay transparency, and other affirmative requirements as a condition of doing business with the federal government continue. Sound familiar? The trend continues with new Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) rules and accompanying U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) guidance issued on August 25, 2016, implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. In a nutshell – boiling down over 800 pages of rulemaking materials – the rules will soon require:


Continue Reading Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Subject to yet More Mandatory Disclosure Requirements