1. The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to a NECA-opposed Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave (not less than one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked) to employees who work on or in connection with certain federal contracts. The final rule implements Executive Order 13706, signed by President Obama on Sept. 7, 2015.
NECA's Look Ahead: Based on NECA’s read of the 466-page rule, please note the following provisions:
- The rule will allow these workers to use paid leave if they are sick, need to take care of a sick family member or must see a doctor or take a family member to a medical appointment.
- Workers may also use paid sick leave for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- The final rule applies to all covered contracts solicited and awarded on or after Jan. 1, 2017.
- Contractors shall provide pay and benefits for paid sick leave used no later than one pay period following the end of the regular pay period in which the paid sick leave was taken.
- Prime contractors and upper-tier subcontractors shall be responsible for the compliance by any subcontractor or lower-tier subcontractor.
- The rule does NOT excuse noncompliance with or supersede any applicable Federal or State law, any applicable law or municipal ordinance, or a collective bargaining agreement requiring greater paid sick leave or leave rights than those established under the Order – Essentially, our contractors, even though they are parties to collective bargaining agreements, must comply with the minimum requirements of the rule. The Federal rule sets the minimum bar for paid sick leave. If a state or local law requires a contractor provide the equivalent 56 hours of leave or exceeds that amount, the contractor is viewed to be in compliance.
- Failure to comply with the requirements of this clause may be grounds for termination of the right to proceed with the contract work. In such event, the Government may enter into other contracts or arrangements for completion of the work, charging the contractor in default with any additional cost. A breach of the contract clause may be grounds for debarment as a contractor and subcontractor.
- Contractors must maintain, and make available to the Federal Wage and Hour Division, for a period no less than three (3) years from the completion of the work on the contract, records containing paid sick leave information.
- Contractors shall flow-down this requirement in all of its covered subcontracts and shall require its subcontractors to include this clause in any covered lower-tier subcontracts.
To help provide more clarity to our members nationwide, we will hold and we encourage you and your contractors to attend a special Preconvention Workshop, Federal Rules: Paid Sick Leave and Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces on Friday, October 7th from 1:00PM-5:00PM in Room 157A at the Convention Center at the NECA Convention in Boston. This session will feature Brian Wood, a construction law attorney from the firm of Smith, Currie, & Hancock, who will discuss both the Paid Sick Leave and the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces federal rules, which NECA has been following since their introduction. Mr. Wood will explain the contracts and subcontracts covered, the recordkeeping requirements your company will have to comply, and the potential implications of any perceived violations.
For more official details, please visit the DOL web site and read the “Fact Sheet: Final Rule to Implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors,” and Frequently Asked Questions.
2. Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) late on September 28 to avoid a government shutdown. The short-term spending bill will keep the government funded through December 9, and includes $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus, $500 million for disaster recovery in Louisiana and other states, increased funding to train and equip the military, and improved care for veterans.
NECA’s Look Ahead: A bipartisan agreement promising to provide funding this year for the Flint, Michigan water crisis as part of the Water Resources Development Act was the key item that allowed Congrssional leaders to move forward and pass the CR before the September 30 deadline.
3. On September 28, the House passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, a $9 billion water-resources measure that authorizes new Army Corps of Engineers projects and includes funds to upgrade the water system in Flint, Michigan. The bill passed the House in a 399-25 vote. An amendment was offered by Rep. Garret Graves in an attempt to undermine not only the Davis-Bacon Act, but also strip the ability of the USACE to move projects forward themselves was successfully defeated by NECA.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The House-passed bill must now be reconciled with the bill passed by the Senate on September 15, with the biggest hurdle being the Senate version’s provisions authorizing several billion dollars of Environmental Protection Agency drinking water and wastewater treatment programs. While staff are expected to meet off-line over the next several weeks, House and Senate conferees will not officially meet on this legislation until after the November elections.