By now, HR pros have no doubt heard about how President Obama issued yet another Executive Order geared toward improving labor practices and workers’ rights. Now the real question is: Just how much is this likely to impact HR’s administrative processes?
The latest order — dubbed the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order — applies to any employers that receive federal government contracts worth more than $500,000.
Employers may be thinking, We’re not federal contractors, so we don’t have to worry about this. Not exactly. Employment law attorneys predict this order will also impact subcontractors in many cases. That means employers that work with companies that have government contracts will also be affected by the new order.
The order requires these contractors to report whether they’ve violated any one of 14 total labor laws within the past three years.
Some of the major federal labor laws listed in the order include:
- the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and
- the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As for the firms that report violations within this three-year time frame, they’ll be required to provide updates on those violations every six months and could face “remedial action.”
In addition, employers with federal contracts valued at $1 million or more are required to include a clause that states they won’t require their workers and/or independent contractors to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements for disputes stemming from Title VII or torts — “wrongful acts” — that are related to sexual assault or harassment.
According to the White House fact sheet, the order will be “implemented on new contracts in stages, on a prioritized basis, beginning in 2016.”
‘Make policy or process improvements’
When in effect, these new regs could have a major impact on the administrative processes of both federal contractors and subcontractors, alike.
Writing for Thomson’s Smart HR blog, Peter A. Susser said:
Complications and challenges may arise in ways not previously envisioned. For example, with FAR regulations and advice from DOL and the Office of Management and Budget likely to specify the mechanics of administration, single findings of violation may not necessarily give rise to a finding of ‘lack of responsibility’ on the part of the current or potential contractor or subcontractor.”
Consequently, all federal contractors should review their histories of compliance and violation under FMLA (and the other covered federal statutes), and make any policy or process improvement that will place them in a better position if and when any adverse parts of their record come under new scrutiny and analysis in the procurement process.