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Service Contract Act: The Government Side of the Coin
August 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm #139555
Sound Off on Centre’s Forum for SCA Best Practices
Federal Contractors who provide services have been hit hard with the coronation of the Service Contract Act of 1965 as the law of the year “that will be enforced”. The Law has been around for thirty six years but until very recently it has not played a major role in the procurement process or the administration of service contracts. Investigations and audits by the Department of Labor were conducted, but were not viewed as the first step that could and would lead to fines, penalties, debarment.
The hiring of investigators by the Department of Labor, articles about the need to enforce labor laws in 2011, quotes from top level officials regarding the need to focus on enforce the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and blogs addressing the ambiguities and the interpretations of the thirty six year old labor law have caused immediate responses from the service contractor community. Actions to learn and understand the Act were precipitated by the constant barrage of “enforcement is mandatory”.
Contractors are responding to the call – sending their staff to SCA classes, sponsored conferences and meetings, hiring consultants, and hiring attorneys to assist in understanding and implementing the Service Contract Act. “To protect ourselves, we must increase our understanding of what must be done to avoid the being non-compliant to the SCA” is a prominent theme for 2011.
My colleague, Jake Leishman, mentioned this trend at a recent government training session. “Wait, what about us?” was the question that she received from an agency contracting officer. What does the contracting shop have to know, and do, to insure the appropriate incorporation of the SCA in RFPs and Statements of Work? Throughout the Q&A period, more and more questions addressed the “real meaning” and implementation of the SCA. In the Contract Administration phase, questions on price adjustment, contract modifications relating to wage determination, conformance of new jobs, and intricate questions on the Law represent major issues that we must address. “The service contractors are on a full scale program for understanding and being able to implement this Law”.
One concern is that the contracting agency is not alone. They must work closely with the Department of Labor to insure appropriate implementation and enforcement. Conformance, SCA non-compliance, Wage Determination, hourly requirement for Health and Welfare Fringe Benefits, and Contract Work Hour Safety Standard Act requirements, are phrases and requirements that have entered the procurement and contract administration of service contract world.
This emphasis on the SCA has created an atmosphere among contractors that has lead to their demand for help. What about the government side of the coin? What are you doing, and how are you preparing your staff, to play this important game? Please share your best practices on this forum.
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