Agency acquisition leaders are now required to leverage acquisitions that will foster markets for sustainable technologies, materials, products and services. Agencies are also required to implement high-performance sustainable building design, construction, renovation, repair, commissioning, operation and maintenance, management, and deconstruction practices in all applicable acquisitions.
If your company has a federal prime contract of at least $100,000 OR a subcontract of at least $10,000 you are required to post a new labor notice effective today, June 21st. Executive Order 13496 and its implementing regulations, 20 C.F.R. Part 471, require Federal contractors and subcontractors, beginning on June 21, 2010, to notify employees about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector, and guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union. or to refrain from all such activity.
As part of its commitment to reaching a zero environmental footprint, GSA has named Eleni Reed to the newly created position of “Chief Greening Officer”. In this position, Ms. Reed will be responsible for aggressively reducing the environmental impact of more than 9,000 federal buildings.
GSA has made it clear that it plans to be at the forefront for state-of-the-art and emerging green technology since President Obama’s Executive Order on sustainability issued in October, 2009. Announcing the appointment of Ms. Reed, GSA stated that, “under her leadership, the agency will continue its commitment to develop a higher performing, greener federal building inventory and serve as a green proving ground for the American real estate industry.”
According to Federal Computer Week, Reed was previously “the director of sustainability strategies with the Cushman & Wakefield Client Solutions Group. There she helped develop an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency for the environmental management of the firm’s properties. Reed also worked with the New York City Office of Operations and led the implementation of the city’s Green Building Standards law.”
GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson cited the President’s Executive Order 13514, in her May 18, 2010 keynote address to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Federal Summit. Highlighting GSA’s mission to assist other federal agencies to make greater strides in sustainability, excel at greening initiatives, and increase federal building performance, Johnson outlined a number of areas in which GSA could take the lead toward greening the government. These include cultivating green-centered public/private partnerships, aiming for only green products on the federal supply schedules (aka GSA Schedules), and using the federal building portfolio as a green proving ground for new sustainable building and design technologies.
Aronson noticed the “green” focus while in attendance at GSA Expo May 5 – 7, 2010. Many Expo vendors highlighted their “BioPreferredSM” qualifications. Identifying GSA as a fulcrum that can leverage its “massive buying power to impact the government’s environmental footprint,” Johnson proposed that the federal government move to a zero environmental footprint, and she stressed that GSA is setting its sights on “eliminating the impact of the federal government on our natural environment.” She concluded by challenging the audience to “try new things, take risks, and be bold. Use the tools that we develop together. Find new partners and leave no stone unturned.” (Source: GSA.gov)
Service providers accustomed to 3 – 4% annual rate escalations on multi-year contracts may be surprised by the rate escalation at their next negotiation. Nationwide, economic conditions have led to dramatic decreases in the Employment Cost Index (ECI), a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that tracks changes in private sector compensation which is used by Federal agencies when negotiating out-year escalations. This, accompanied by President Obama’s executive order holding federal civilian 2010 pay raises at 2.0%, and the 1.4% pay raise proposed in the 2011 budget, will impact Contracting Officers’ negotiation stance.
Federal contractors, especially those in the Washington, D.C. metro area less affected by the recession, who continue to give 3 – 5% pay raises to attract and retain employees do this at risk of taking a hit to their bottom line. Additionally, the 2010 package extends the A-76 moratorium on new public-private competitions for federal work and requires non-DoD federal agencies to annually review whether work now being done by private contractors should be insourced to federal employees. Need assistance with government contract negotiation? Contact Aronson & Company’s Government Contracts Solutions Group.
How do Inclement Weather and Extra Holiday Federal Closings Impact Federal Contractors Working at Government Sites?
Federal contractors potentially have two unplanned Federal government closings impacting their business this month. Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are closed today, December 21, 2009, due to inclement weather. Therefore, federal non-emergency employees (including employees on pre-approved leave) will be granted excused absence for the number of hours they were scheduled to work. In addition, President Obama issued Executive Order 15323, closing all executive branch departments and Agencies at midday on Christmas Eve (Thursday, December 24, 2009).
If you are a Federal Contractor with employees working on Federal Government sites, what do these closings mean to you? Continue reading »
Both opportunities and challenges await contractors as a result of Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability. One particular component, the green procurement policy, will cover 95 percent of new contracts and acquisitions and carry a lot of weight due to the government’s mammoth buying power which exceeds more than a half trillion dollars spent on goods and services annually.
Some “green-oriented” companies could win never-before-seen opportunities. Preference or other incentives could be given for “products manufactured using processes that minimize greenhouse gas emissions.” Other longtime contractors may get the boot because their products don’t fit the new eco-friendly bill. Green purchasing advocates have pushed for — and some local jurisdictions say they are complying with — policies to stop contracts for eco-unfriendly items like bottled water. Requirements may also be imposed – recommendations could include requiring vendors to register with a voluntary greenhouse gas emissions registry and disclose their efforts to reduce emissions.
The State of Maryland is looking for tax revenues and thinks that misclassified independent contractors are ripe with opportunity. Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley (by executive order No. 2009.19) recently created a multi-agency Task Force that will coordinate investigations into, and enforcement of, work place fraudulent practice. The executive order defines work place fraud as a practice whereby employers improperly classify “employees” as “independent contractors”. The purpose of the task force is to assist in recouping tax revenue, such as unemployment insurance taxes, wage withholding, etc., lost because of this misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
The Task Force is an expansion of earlier legislative efforts to address this same issue specifically in the construction and landscaping industries (see Maryland’s Workplace Fraud Act of 2009). While the Workplace Fraud Act of 2009 was limited to a specific industry, the Governor’s Task Force will have jurisdiction over all employers in all sectors. The Task Force has also been directed to propose legislative changes that will enhance the investigation, enforcement and prevention of misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C. provide some updated Jan 2010 insight on regulatory and legislative actions at the federal and state level. Continue reading »
On January 30, 2009, President Obama issued three executive orders that make significant changes in labor policy for government contractors. Sanctions includes include contract cancellation, termination or ineligibility period of up to 3 years. Contractors should begin reviewing their policies and procedures to see if they will be in compliance with the following orders:
1) Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws – Contractors and subcontractors must inform employees of their right to organize under the National Labor Relations Act as opposed to the current regulation which requires informing employees of their right to refuse to join a union. Employers must post notices, physically and electronically, in their plants and offices where employees are covered by the National Labor Relations Act.
2) Economy in Government Contracting- This order would make all company expenses to persuade employees to exercise or not exercise their right to organize and bargain collectively unallowable expenses. Costs incurred in maintaining satisfactory employee relations including costs of labor-management committees and employee publications are also unallowable.
3) Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers under Service Contracts - This order applies to follow-on service contracts for the same or similar services to be performed in the same location. In such circumstances, the order requires the successor contractor to offer the employees of the predecessor contractor who would otherwise be laid off, the right of first refusal for any job openings under the follow-on contract for which they are qualified. There shall be no employment openings under the contract until right of first refusal has been provided.
Information provided in part from Crowell & Moring Attorneys at Law February 2, 2009 newsletter. If you need help understanding allowable costs or developing a compliance program, contact Tom Williams of Aronson & Company at 301-222-8289 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
An executive order has been issued to implement the fiscal 2009 Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 2638) approval of a 3.9 percent pay increase for Federal Employees.
Federal Employees are receiving a higher than expected pay increase for 2009. The initial percent increase proposed by the Bush administration was 2.9 percent.
The initial proposed pay increase drew a lot of attention from federal labor unions and management groups who are addressing major problems with employee retention.
The pay increase will take effect January 1, 2009.
What We Are Writing
- A Marriage of Inconvenience: GSA Schedule Contracts & The Contractor Code of Business Ethics & Conduct Clause
- Emerging Small Businesses: To Grow Your Business, You Must Plan For Growth
- Government Contracting: Look Before You Leap!
- GSA Schedules – Strategies for Success
- New Employee vs. Independent Contractor Considerations
- Pay on Display – Understanding the Executive Compensation and Subcontractor Data Reporting Requirements & Ramifications
- The GSA Schedule: Your Ticket to the Federal Market (May 2010)
- The New FAR Codes of Conduct and Compliance Program Provisions
- The Seven Deadly Sins (of contract compliance)