Time for federal contractors to get ready for new pay transparency rule

September 10, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Federal contractors need to be preparing now for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new pay transparency rule, a rule going into effect in January that is likely to present challenges to a number of employers, according to an attorney familiar with its provisions.

“This rule appears to me to be part of the overarching intention of the agency to provide for more defined and broader rights for workers,” Jo Ellen Whitney, an attorney with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa, said after publication of the rule was announced September 10. “Any time we add a section to the law that would broaden coverage or create a new category of discrimination or retaliation, we create employer issues. This is not because employers will violate the law, but because it is uncertain how it will be used to support any potential employee claim.”

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Federal contractors advised to get ready for new paid sick leave order

September 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s latest Executive Order affecting federal contractors isn’t scheduled to take effect for more than a year, but employers with federal contracts are advised to take a look at their sick leave policies now to make sure they will be in compliance when the time comes.

On September 7, Obama signed an Executive Order that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. A fact sheet from the White House says that beginning with new contracts in 2017, workers will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The White House points out that contractors are free to offer more generous paid leave entitlements.

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OFCCP issues checklist on disability employment requirements

August 17, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has published a checklist designed to help contractors analyze whether their affirmative action plans meet the government’s requirements for ensuring employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The checklist is designed to help federal contractors meet the requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Contractors face August 1 deadline for new veteran reporting form

Beginning August 1, federal contractors must use the new VETS-4212 report to provide information to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) about their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans.

The VETS-4212 report replaces the VETS-100 and VETS-100A forms required by the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) that became final in September 2014.

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Proposed rules on contractor ‘blacklisting’ order published

by Judith E. Kramer

The controversial proposed “blacklisting” regulations implementing President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order have been published in the May 28 edition of the Federal Register for notice and comment. The proposed regulations were issued by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council.

The order, which the proposed regulations interpret, applies to prospective and existing contractors with contracts over $500,000. The order provides that employers can be denied federal contracts if they have violated or have allegedly violated a number of federal, state, or local labor and employment laws within the past three years.

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New OFCCP rule on sexual orientation, gender identity takes effect April 8

March 30, 2015 - by: Tony Kessler 0 COMMENTS

by Emily L. Bristol

A new rule that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of prohibited bases of discrimination under Executive Order 11246 goes into effect on April 8.

The rule, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), will apply to federal contractors that hold covered contracts entered into or modified on or after April 8.

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OFCCP proposes new rule on sex discrimination guidelines for contractors

January 30, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new proposed rule updating sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors takes aim at what the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) calls “regulatory anachronism.”

The proposed rule appears in the January 30 Federal Register. The public will have until April 14 to provide comments. A fact sheet and frequently asked questions are available on the OFCCP’s website. The revisions address discrimination based on gender identity and pregnancy as well as sexual harassment.

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Comment period on OFCCP’s proposed regulation on pay secrecy closing

by Emily L. Bristol

The comment period for a new rule prohibiting federal contractors from having pay secrecy policies will come to a close on December 16.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulation, “Government Contractors, Prohibitions Against Pay Secrecy Policies and Actions,” would prohibit contractors from taking action against applicants or employees because they were discussing, inquiring about, or disclosing their compensation or the compensation of another applicant or employee. The proposed regulation also includes:

  • Definitions for key terms such as “compensation,” “compensation information,” and “essential functions”;
  • An obligation to disseminate a new OFCCP-mandated nondiscrimination provision to employees and applicants; and
  • A defense for the discipline of an employee, such as an HR employee, who improperly discloses employee pay absent a separate legal obligation to disclose the information.

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LGBT final rule for contractors published

December 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The final rule implementing President Barack Obama’s Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been published in the December 9 Federal Register.

The rule implements Executive Order 13672, which Obama signed on July 21. The order directed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to update rules to add gender identity and sexual orientation to classes protected by law. Obama had hoped Congress would pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have covered more employers than just those with government contracts, but that bill has not passed.

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$10.10 minimum wage for contractors set for January 1

December 01, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s Executive Order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and subcontractors is set to take effect for all federal contracts beginning on or after January 1.

Obama signed Executive Order 13658 on February 12. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the final rule implementing the order on October 1. The DOL has said the order will affect nearly 200,000 workers.

Obama had urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to $10.10 an hour, but that effort failed in Congress. The current minimum wage, in force since 2009, is $7.25 an hour. Obama’s Executive Order applies only to employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. Congressional action is necessary to raise the general minimum wage.

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