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FEDERAL CONTRACTS PERSPECTIVE

Federal Acquisition Developments, Guidance, and Opinions


March 2016
Vol. XVII, No. 3
[pdf version]

CONTENTS


Labor Proposes Regulations Requiring Federal Contractors to Provide Sick Leave
GSA Opens Federal Acquisition Gateway to Public
Costs of Congressional Inquiries Would Be Disallowed
DFARS Revised to Conform to FAR PIINs



Labor Proposes Regulations Requiring
Federal Contractors to Provide Sick Leave

The Department of Labor has published an 80-page proposed regulation that would implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors to provide their employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave allowing for family care (see the October 2015 Federal Contracts Perspective article “President Orders Paid Sick Leave for Employees of Federal Contractors”). The proposed rule defines terms, describes the categories of contracts and employees the executive order covers and excludes from coverage, establishes requirements and restrictions governing the accrual and use of paid sick leave, and prohibits interference with or discrimination for the exercise of rights under the executive order.

The new regulations would be added to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Labor, as Part 13, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors (29 CFR part 13). The following are some of the key provisions of the proposed regulations:

Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted no later than March 28, 2016, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1235-AA13, by either of the following methods: (1) the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov; or (2) mail: Robert Waterman, Compliance Specialist, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3510, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.



GSA Opens Federal Acquisition Gateway to Public

The General Services Administration (GSA), “in the spirit of data transparency,” has opened the Federal Acquisition Gateway (https://hallways.cap.gsa.gov/login-information) to the general public, thus “giving non-government users access to a subset of what is available to federal government employees.”

The Federal Acquisition Gateway is a portal with various acquisition-related information that is intended to make contracting easier for contracting officers – “Our vision is to provide a workspace with accurate, useful, and unbiased advice.” While intended for the federal contracting community, the Acquisition Gateway provides the public with access to a subset of what is available to federal government employees.

The Acquisition Gateway provides resources in 19 different “hallways.” The hallways are:

Within each hallway, users of the Acquisition Gateway can find:

Federal contracting professionals can use the Federal Acquisition Gateway to:

Because some information can only be accessed by government contracting officials, there are two entrances to the Gateway: “federal government users” (full access) and “non-federal government & public users.”



Costs of Congressional Inquiries Would Be Disallowed

A rule has been proposed that would amend Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 31.205-47, Costs Related to Legal and Other Proceedings, to implement Section 857 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291), which disallows costs incurred by a contractor in connection with a congressional investigation or inquiry into an issue that is the subject matter of a proceeding resulting in a disposition (that is, a conviction in a criminal proceeding; a determination of contractor liability in a civil or administrative proceeding; the imposition of a monetary penalty or an order to take corrective action in a civil or administrative proceeding; or a decision to debar or suspend the contractor, to rescind or void the contract, or to terminate the contract for default).

This proposed rule would amend FAR 31.205-47(f) (“Costs not covered elsewhere in this subsection are unallowable if incurred in connection with:”) by adding as subparagraph (f)(9) the following to disallow the costs involving: “A Congressional investigation or inquiry into an issue that is the subject matter of a proceeding resulting in a disposition as described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section (see 10 U.S.C. 2324(e)(1)(Q)).” (EDITOR’S NOTE: FAR 31.205-47(b)(1) through (5) identify the various types of “dispositions” mentioned above.)

While Section 857 applies only to contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Coast Guard, “for the purpose of promoting consistency in the accounting systems of federal contractors, it was decided to apply the section's requirements to all agencies subject to the FAR.”

Additionally, conforming language on unallowable costs is proposed for subparagraph (b)(15) of FAR 31.603, Contracts with State, Local, and Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, to update language associated with whistleblower complaints, and subparagraph (b)(16) is added to reflect the provisions in the new FAR 31.205-47(f)(9).

Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted no later than April 18, 2016, identified as “FAR Case 2015-016,” by either of the following methods: (1) the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov; or (2) mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405.



DFARS Revised to Conform to FAR PIINs

During the month of February, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a rule bringing the Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS) into compliance with the FAR’s uniform procurement identification numbers (PIINs). In addition, DOD is proposing revisions to address contractors’ independent research and development efforts, two DFARS class deviations involving contractor personnel in Africa, and a request for comments on a proposed memorandum of understanding with Estonia.





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