1. The Department of Labor has announced a proposed rule to implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. As previously reported, Executive Order 13706 was signed by President Barack Obama on September 7, 2015, and requires parties that enter into covered contracts with the Federal Government to provide covered employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave allowing for family care.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The proposed rule describes the categories of contracts and employees covered by the Executive Order; the rules and restrictions regarding the accrual and use of paid sick leave; the obligations of contracting agencies, the Department of Labor, and covered Federal contractors under the Order; and the remedies and enforcement procedures to implement the Order’s requirements. Written comments on the proposed rule are due by March 28, 2016. If you have any concerns and suggestions how to respond to these new requirements, please let us know at NECAGovtAffairs@necanet.org.
2. NECA, along with several other construction trade associations, sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) urging the agency to complete action on a proposed rule clarifying the applicability of Buy America requirements for manufactured products that may contain steel elements and for incidental products such as nuts, bolts and other miscellaneous steel or iron parts used in common off-the shelf products such as the filaments in light bulbs.
NECA’s Look Ahead: In December 2012, the agency issued guidance providing clarifying language detailing the application of Buy America requirements to manufactured products. However, a December 22, 2015 decision handed down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated guidance. Consequently, our contractors have had to rely on a patchwork quilt of interpretations made on a project-by-project basis. Given the current problems created by the court decision, the letter asks that FHWA commence a rulemaking process to clarify the policy.
3. The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing on February 24 on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) annual report to Congress and completed project recommendations.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This hearing is instrumental in helping Congress move forward and develop the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Members of the Committee now have an opportunity to review the 23 Chief’s Reports submitted to Congress since enactment of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014), and the process USACE undertakes when developing its projects and activities that benefit the Nation. USACE regularly studies and recommends potential projects and these projects are submitted to Congress in the form of a report approved by the USACE Chief of Engineers (commonly referred to as a “Chief’s Report”). The 23 Chief’s Reports may be reviewed here.