Fair-Pay and Safe Workplaces
Monday, September 12, 2016
The FAR Council and the U.S. Department of Labor issued the final Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, also known as the “blacklisting rule.”
Beginning this October, federal contractors – including subcontractors – will face new reporting requirements under the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules. Both prime and subcontractors bidding on work over $500,000 must disclose any violation of 14 federal labor laws – and the equivalent state laws – from the previous three years.
During the initial disclosure, contractors will only be allowed to answer “yes” or “no” without an opportunity to elaborate. Contracting officers will not look into the details of the violations (appeals, mitigating factors, etc.) until the company is “likely to win the award.” Moreover, violations that require reporting will not be fully adjudicated in some cases. WIPP’s official comment on the rule highlighted this concern and noted the possibility that simply having violations on record will “blacklist” companies without providing allowing them an opportunity to explain.
In addition to these reporting requirements, the rule sets other workplace standards. The rule dictates what information needs to be listed on an employee or independent contractor’s paycheck and requires contractors to make clear to workers whether they are an employee or independent contractor. Also, on contracts and subcontracts over $1 million, a contractor cannot require workers to enter into mandatory pre-dispute arbitration on discrimination or sexual harassment claims.
For more information, including an in-depth overview and the rule’s implementation timeline, please see WIPP’s previous reports.