The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule essentially aims to prevent construction firms that repeatedly break compliance rules from being able to bid on government contracts. The rules claim to target repeat offenders that seem to be disregarding them entirely. Such contractors would be denied federal contracts and other government work in an effort claimed to make construction sites safer for everyone.
Implementing these rules means that contractors are now required to report their compliance records when bidding on federal projects. Government officers will retain the ability to suspend contractors from being able to do government work, sometimes even indefinitely.
Backlash Against the Rule
Concerns are being raised that the rules outlined in the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule are imprecise and carry a risk for unfairly punishing firms honestly striving to meet safety and compliance regulations. The criticism comes from major industry associations including the Associated General Contractors of America and the Associated Builders and Contractors , to support the law-abiding contractors mindful of regulations. They are also warning that an unseen consequence of this rule could be employees losing their jobs over infractions, instead of receiving corrective training.
Timeline for The New Construction Rule
While the debate will surely continue, compliance still remains an issue of concern for construction contractors. Below are the timelines for the new construction rule:
- Sept 12, 2016 – Contractors can request an assessment by the US Department of Labor of their compliance history.
- Oct 25, 2016 – The rule takes effect. After this date, contractors bidding on federal contracts valued to be at least $50 million must submit a one-year compliance history along with the proposal.
- Jan 1, 2017 – A wage statement with employee pay recorded must also be included with proposals. This also requires a notice sent to independent contractors to confirm that they are indeed independent contractors and not employees of the company.
- Apr 25, 2017 – The minimum value of contracts requiring compliance history will be dropped to $500,000.
- Oct 25, 2015 – All subcontractors with an estimated value of at least $500,000 are also required to submit their labor compliance history for an assessment.
Smart contractors would do best not to rely solely on the Department of Labor to assess and report their compliance. Jimmy Christianson, director of the federal and heavy construction division at the AGC, says as the DoL is the very agency issuing violations, their assessment of a contractor’s compliance record is “duplicative and wasteful.”
You can get more details about the new construction rule here.
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