Federal Contractors: Your New Burdens

US-CapitolTwo-thousand fourteen has seen multiple new federal contractor requirements issued by the White House.

Minimum Wage Increase to $10.10
On February 12, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658 increasing to $10.10 the minimum wage for certain federal contractors. The order applies to procurement contracts for services or construction; contracts covered by the Service Contract Act; concessions contracts; and contracts in connection with federal property or lands. Going forward, the minimum wage will be revised annually to match Consumer Price Index changes. Any revised wage must be announced at least 90 days before the increase.

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender Protections
On July 21, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13672 prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Proposed rules are expected in the late fall or early winter 2014. Contractors should begin assessing what documents will need updating to include these new classes. Website notices, employment applications, job postings, and employee handbooks are just some of the items that will require updating.

Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information
On April 8, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13665, which prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed compensation information. The order is intended to address the “persistent pay gap” between men and women. Proposed regulations are expected in late fall 2014. The National Labor Relations Act already forbids employers from disciplining employees for discussing compensation.

Equal Pay Report
Federal contractors and subcontractors meeting certain thresholds will be required to annually file with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) an “Equal Pay Report.” The report will require submission of summary compensation data, including data by sex and race.

The rule as proposed applies to prime contractors and first-tier subcontractors who are required to file EEO-1 Report(s), have more than 100 employees, and have a federal contract, subcontract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more that covers a period of at least 30 days (including modifications). Construction contractors, including construction subcontractors of any tier, are subject to the proposed rule, if they meet the requirements described above.A final rule has not been issued by the DOL.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces
On July 31, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13673, which will generally apply to federal contractors with contracts valued at $500,000 or more. Before further federal contractors are awarded, bidders are required to indicate whether there have been any administrative decisions, arbitration awards, or civil judgments against the contractor for violations of 15 specified labor laws. Contractors must update this information every six months. For contracts in excess of $1 million, arbitration for claims under Title VII or related to sexual assault or harassment can only be done upon the voluntary consent of the employee or independent contractor.

Navigating these new requirements is difficult. MSEC is here to assist you. Please contact Melinda Sanders at 800.884.1328 or msanders@msec.org with questions.