Presented by Al Corvigo
While the majority of federal contractors follow the rules, every year tens of thousands of American workers are denied overtime wages, not hired or paid fairly because of their gender or age, or have their health and safety put at risk by corporations contracting with the federal government. Your taxpayer dollars should not reward corporations that break the law. In July of 2014 President Obama signed Executive Order 13473 to ensure that all hardworking Americans get the fair pay and safe workplaces they deserve.
The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order will govern new federal procurement contracts valued at more than $500,000, providing information on companies’ compliance with federal labor laws for agencies. The Order is expected to impact approximately 24,000 large and small employers with federal contacts, employing about 28 million workers.
The eight key provisions of the Order are as follows:
- Hold Corporations Accountable
- Crack Down on Repeat Violators
- Promote Efficient Federal Contracting
- Protect Responsible Contractors
- Focus on Helping Companies Improve
- Give Employees a Day in Court
- Give Employees Information About their Paychecks
- Streamline Implementation and Overall Contractor Reporting
While this Order is meant to eliminate unfair practices, it is ambiguous and does not have a fixed timetable.
One example of the ambiguity is as follows:
The Executive Order directs the secretary of Labor to develop guidelines as to what types of violations will be judged to impact a contractor’s responsibility. In the absence of these yet-to-be developed guidelines, contractors are apprehensive. Contractors routinely settle minor violations; but how will these be treated under forthcoming regulations?
There is also concern at the Labor Relations Committee of the Professional Services Council regarding violations toward a contractor. If a Contracting Officer makes a mistake, which is subsequently investigated and resolved by the DOL in favor of the SCA employees, what impact will it have on the Contractor? What constitutes a serious violation? How will consistency be achieved across government agencies? These questions along with many more remain unanswered by the Order.
To read Executive Order 13473 in its entirety please click here.
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