The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced on May 4, 2023 a planned end to the COVID-19 remote I-9 flexibility. The flexibility ends on July 31 and prior pandemic I-9s must be remediated by Aug 30, 2023. Therefore, employers should act quickly to review and remediate I-9s that were verified remotely in the past three years.Continue Reading ICE Announces July and August Deadlines for Employers: Preparing for the DHS Planned Sunset of the COVID Pandemic Remote I-9 Verification Accommodations
On March 31, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) rescinded a Trump Administration rule that provided a faith-based carve-out exempting federal contractors from compliance with certain anti-discrimination obligations. Federal law has long recognized a religious exemption to anti-discrimination obligations for federal contractors. The Trump Administration rule, which went into effect on January 8, 2021, expanded this faith-based carve-out. The rescission of the 2021 rule, which was published in the Federal Register on March 1, returns OFCCP to its pre-2021 religious exemption rule.Continue Reading Rescinding a Lame Duck Trump Administration Rule, DOL Returns to Its Longstanding Policy on Religious Exemptions for Federal Contractors
On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated. While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022. Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.
Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide
First things first, I’m sorry about the title; I couldn’t resist. The longer, alternate title would have been “Rest In Peace – the Past Performance Information Retrieval System Sleeps with the Fishes.” But that doesn’t have the same kind of obscure, punchy, epitaph-type quality that I’m aiming for. So instead, I give you get a garbled mess of an acronym to remind us that the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (“PPIRS”) – the system once used by the U.S. Government to house the final performance assessments for government contractors – is no more. As far as epitaphs go, I think that most of us would agree that “R.I.P.” is just about what an acronym deserves.
Continue Reading R.I.P. PPIRS
After 35 days of the government shutdown, one of the (many) issues currently facing companies who contract with government agencies affected by the shutdown is if, when, and how, they must pay their employees upon the reopening of the government.
Continue Reading Recovering After the Shutdown: Proposed Legislation to Guarantee Back Pay for Government Contractors
On March 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law a Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) resolution repealing the so-called “blacklisting” rule, which would have imposed strict labor reporting and other requirements upon government contractors. This was followed by an Executive Order (“EO”) signed by President Trump the same day, effectively nullifying President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces EO that first called for the blacklisting rule.
Continue Reading UPDATE: Congress and Trump Administration Repeal “Blacklisting” Rule, Relieving Contractors from Strict Labor Reporting and Other Requirements
On April 18, President Trump signed a new executive order (EO) at a ceremony in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The EO is entitled “Buy American and Hire American” and focuses on these two themes, with the President’s stated goal of ending the “theft of American prosperity” by focusing on American workers and products. While the details of how the new EO will be applied will undoubtedly take months to implement (pending numerous agency-level reviews), companies doing business with the federal government, or with an interest in foreign high-skill workers, should be aware of these new developments so that they can prepare for the adjustments they will need to make in the near future, as the President’s efforts to put American workers first take shape.
Continue Reading Buy American and Hire American – New Executive Order Promises to Put American Workers First, But Practical Impacts Remain Unclear
On September 29, 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued regulations (the “final rule”) implementing Executive Order 13706, which requires federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to their employees. According to the DOL, federal contractors employ 1.15 million individuals—594,000 of whom do not receive paid sick leave. Thus, for contractors who do not currently provide paid sick leave to their employees, the final rule imposes significant administrative and financial burdens. Given the nuanced requirements of the final rule, however, even contractors who currently provide some form of paid sick leave to employees may find compliance with the final rule burdensome. Contractors should act now to either develop paid sick leave policies or determine what changes need to be made to their current paid leave policies to ensure they are in compliance with the final rule once it becomes effective.
On August 25, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) and Federal Acquisition Regulatory (“FAR”) Councils published “Guidance for Executive Order 13673, ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces’” (“final rule”). See 81 Fed. Reg. 58562. Also referred to as the “blacklisting” rule, it imposes strict disclosure guidelines and requires that both prospective and existing contractors – as well as subcontractors – disclose violations of federal labor laws that resulted in administrative merits determinations, civil judgments, or arbitral awards or decisions. The final rule also requires that contractors and subcontractors disclose specific information to workers each pay period regarding their wages and also prohibits contractors from requiring that their workers sign arbitration agreements that encompass Title VII violations and claims of sexual assault or harassment.
Continue Reading Agencies Publish Strict New Labor Reporting Guidelines for Government Contractors
On May 7, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued a directive establishing a five-year moratorium on enforcement of certain affirmative obligations of TRICARE subcontractors—specifically, obligations related to affirmative action programs and recordkeeping under Executive Order (“E.O.”) 11246, as amended, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 503”), as amended, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (“VEVRAA”), as amended.
Continue Reading OFCCP Implements Enforcement Moratorium with Respect to TRICARE Subcontractors
As promised in his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama has turned to executive action to advance his agenda, which includes increasing the minimum wage and creating improved tools to ensure equal pay for women and minorities. And unfortunately for federal contractors, the President’s recent executive actions have imposed increased, and potentially costly, obligations on federal contractors.
Continue Reading Executive Orders and New Employment Requirements for Federal Contractors