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DOL: Biden-Harris Administration Launches Initiative to Promote Equal Opportunity, Expand Workforce for Federally Funded Jobs in Large Infrastructure Projects
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the launch of an initiative to promote equal opportunity by federal contractors in the construction trades on large federally funded projects, helping to bring more underrepresented communities into the workforce as the President’s agenda to Invest in America continues creating millions of good-paying jobs. Established by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the newly launched “Mega Construction Project Program” will focus the agency’s efforts to bring the public and private sectors together on a select group of projects known as “Megaprojects” to provide a diverse pool of qualified workers with access to good jobs in the construction trades. Megaprojects are large federal construction projects valued at $35 Million or more—some part of which must be federal funding—and that last more than one year. Read more here.
Government Executive: Biden Administration Opens a $250M Fund for Agencies to Make Their Buildings More Efficient
Federal agencies can now tap into a $250 Million fund for projects to make their buildings more energy and water efficient after the Biden administration announced it would open up the money included as part of the recent infrastructure law. The Energy Department will oversee the funding—to be provided as part of the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program—which agencies will apply to access. Congress authorized the spending as part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Read more here.
Law360 Quotes Nichole Atallah on the Employment Status of Civil Detainees and Minimum Wage Rules, 3.17.23, Nichole Atallah
Nichole Atallah, a Partner in the Labor & Employment Group at PilieroMazza, discussed with Law360 the specifics of a Ninth Circuit case regarding the employment status of civil immigration detainees and the impact this case could have on federal government contractors working in this space. Read more here.
DOL Will Open Online Portal for Federal Contractors, Subcontractors to Certify Affirmative Action Program Compliance, Users Must Complete Second-Cycle Compliance Tasks by June 29, 2023
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will open its online tool for federal contractors and subcontractors to certify their compliance with annual federal affirmative action program requirements. On March 31, the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will make the Contractor Portal available for use by covered contractors to certify they have developed and maintained affirmative action programs for each establishment or functional unit. Beginning in 2023, covered federal contractors and subcontractors also must report the coverage period for their affirmative action programs. Read more here.
Government Executive: The Federal Employee COVID Vaccine Mandate Remains Blocked, After Appeals Court Ruling
A federal appeals court upheld a nationwide injunction on President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees, leaving in place a prohibition on the administration enforcing the requirement. Read more here
Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations
Why the Content of a Contractor’s Joint Venture Agreement Matters, 3.15.23, Samuel Finnerty
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) joint venture (JV) regulations allow large businesses to perform set-aside contracts with their small business protégés and allow small businesses to pool their resources and experience to compete for set-aside work they would not independently qualify for. However, these JVs must strictly comply with SBA’s JV regulations. Among other things, this means each JV must have a JV agreement (JVA) that checks a litany of regulatory boxes. A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) case underscores just how carefully these agreements must be drafted and the costly risks to small government contractors, including ineligibility to receive an award. Read more here.
Department of Commerce Adds 6 China-Based Entities to Export Administration Regulations List, 3.15.23, Cy Alba, Ustina Ibrahim, Daniel Figuenick, III
On February 14, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 C.F.R. §§ 730 et seq.) list (Entity List) by adding six China-based entities. The Biden Administration determined that those six entities were conducting business contrary to U.S. national security and / or foreign policy interests. Government contractors should be cautious when doing business with the following entities. Read more here.
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Contract Administration Office Functions Relating to Direct Costs (DFARS Case 2022-D021)
The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule to amend the DFARS by adding to section 242.302(b) an additional contract administrative function delegable from a procuring contracting office to a contract administration office. DFARS 242.302(b) specifies functions performed by the contract administration office “only when and to the extent specifically authorized” by the procuring contracting office, as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 42.302. Any administrative functions unspecified under FAR 42.302 or DFARS 242.302, and not otherwise delegated, remain the responsibility of the procuring contracting office. This final rule is effective March 22, 2023. Read more here.
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Ground and Flight Risk (DFARS Case 2020-D027)
The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule amending the DFARS to revise the requirements related to the assumption of risk associated with aircraft under DOD contracts. Revisions are required due to numerous changes in aircraft contract situations and the emergence of contracts for small, unmanned aircraft. This final rule is effective March 22, 2023. Read more here.
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Noncommercial Computer Software (DFARS Case 2018-D018)
The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule amending the DFARS to implement section 871 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (Pub. L. 115-91). Section 871 established new direction at 10 U.S.C. 4576 (formerly 10 U.S.C. 2322a), Requirement for consideration of certain matters during acquisition of noncommercial computer software. The statute requires that DOD, as part of any negotiation for such software, consider all noncommercial computer software and related materials necessary to meet the needs of the agency throughout the life cycle of the software. This rule provides direction to DOD both to improve acquisition planning and to identify and negotiate for software deliverables and license rights at a fair and reasonable price before contract award. This final rule is effective March 22, 2023. Read more here.
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Use of Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) Assessments (DFARS Case 2019-D009)
The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule amending the DFARS to update the policy and procedures for use of the Supplier Performance Risk System and to require contracting officers to consider SPRS risk assessments, if available, in the evaluation of a supplier’s quotation or offer and to consider SPRS supplier risk assessments when determining contractor responsibility. This final rule is effective March 22, 2023. Read more here.
U.S. General Services Administration: GSA, DOD Sign MOU to Bring More Environmental Innovators to Federal Marketplace
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Defense (DOD) to help expedite bringing environmental innovations into the federal marketplace. Under the agreement, GSA will use DOD’s Sustainable Technology Evaluation and Demonstration (STED) Program information on product performance and pricing to streamline the acquisition process and make sustainable technology alternatives more readily available to federal agencies. Read more here.
Upcoming Government Contracting Presentations