Agencies issue final rule, guidance for contractors on workplace rights
Posted August 29, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council on August 24 announced final regulations and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.
Signed by President Obama in July 2014, the order requires prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and gives agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. It directs the department and the council to issue regulations and guidance to implement the new requirements.
The regulations and guidance announced by the agencies are designed to increase efficiency and cost savings by ensuring that federal contractors are responsible and provide basic workplace protections. The guidance also creates a process for agencies and the DOL to help contractors come into compliance with labor laws.
With the new rule phased in fully, prospective contractors will be required to disclose violations of 14 basic workplace protections from the previous three years — including those addressing wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family and medical leave, and civil rights protections.
In addition to setting up a process to effectively consider labor law violations, the order requires that contractors’ employees are given the necessary information each pay period to verify the accuracy of their paycheck. It also helps ensure the fair treatment of workers who may have been sexually assaulted or had their civil rights violated.
To help contractors come into compliance with labor laws, the regulations and guidance build on the existing procurement system. Most federal contractors will only have to attest that they comply with laws providing basic workplace protections. Designated Agency Labor Compliance Advisors will be available to help contractors who do report violations and coordinate with the relevant enforcement agency experts to help them come into compliance.
The final regulations will be effective on October 25, 2016, and will be implemented in phases to give contractors time to understand their responsibilities.
The week of September 12, 2016, the DOL will begin a pre-assessment process for contractors that anticipate competing for future federal contracts. The DOL will be available to discuss existing labor law violations and whether additional compliance measures are warranted.
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