Today (August 5, 2015), the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published an announcement in the Federal Register informing the public that both it and the FAR Council have extended the notice and comment period for the proposed guidance and regulations implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (the “Order”). The public now has until August 26, 2015 to comment on the proposed guidance and regulations. This represents an additional 15-day extension from the previous August 11, 2015 deadline. The comment period had already been extended once before.
On May 28, 2015, the FAR Council published proposed regulations implementing the Order. On the same day, DOL published proposed guidance to government agencies to assist them in implementing the Order and the proposed regulations. Both the proposed guidance and regulations require the agencies to assess whether the contractors bidding for contracts worth more than $500,000 are responsible sources for federal contracting needs by examining their past labor law violations. The proposed guidance and regulations also require contractors to conduct similar assessments of their subcontractors with subcontracts worth over $500,000. Our blog post on the proposed guidance and regulations can be found here.
On July 14, 2015, DOL and the FAR Council extended the notice and comment period, which was originally set to expire on July 27, 2015 by 15 days to August 11, 2015. Just days after this extension, eight members of Congress requested that DOL and the FAR Council withdraw the proposed guidance and regulations, or in the alternative provide an additional 90 days for notice and comment “to ensure that interested parties have adequate time to review, assess, and provide meaningful input.”
It is unclear whether the most recent extension of the notice and comment period is in response to the demand from the members of Congress – if it is, it only provides a fraction of the time requested. The stated goal of the new extension is to “provide additional time for interested parties to provide comments” on both the proposed guidance and the regulations. Interested contractors can submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or by mail to Tiffany Jones, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-2312, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20210.