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U.S. Department of Labor to Host Prevailing Wage Conference for Government Contracting Officials via Webcast Oct. 4 and 5

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will host a free online conference for federal, state and local contracting officials to provide information on federal rules concerning prevailing wages and other labor law requirements. The conference will be webcast live from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. EDT on both Tuesday, Oct. 4, and Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Wage and Hour Division staff and federal partners will cover Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act compliance principles; the process of obtaining wage determinations and adding classifications; compliance and enforcement processes; and the process for appealing wage rates, coverage and compliance determinations. The Oct. 4 session will focus on Davis-Bacon, and the Oct. 5 session will focus on the SCA.

To participate in the online conference, contracting officials should send the following information to whdpwc@dol.gov: name, title, organization, session(s) of choice and email address.

For more information on the federal prevailing wage statutes and other laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit its Web pages at http://www.dol.gov/whd/. The section available by clicking “ARRA Information,” which features information related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, offers many of the division’s most recently developed compliance assistance materials.

DOL Restores and Updates Functional Affirmative Action Program Process for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

 The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has released a new directive to outline the process by which federal supply and service contractors can apply for Functional Affirmative Action Program agreements, which can be viewed at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/directives/dir296.htm.

“The FAAP is back and is better than before,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Over the past year, I have listened to comments from the contractor community and employee groups, and determined that this is a useful tool for ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors meet their obligations to provide equal employment opportunity for everyone. I am pleased to share updated guidance that responds to the feedback we received while also renewing our commitment to ensuring discrimination-free workplaces.”

Under Executive Order 11246, any company with 50 or more employees and a federal contract of $50,000 or more is required to develop a written affirmative action program for each of its establishments. An AAP helps contractors identify and analyze potential disparities related to the employment of women and minorities. Where disparities exist, contractors can use AAPs to articulate specific procedures they will follow and good faith efforts they will make to provide equal employment opportunities. FAAP agreements allow large contractors the flexibility to create AAPs by functional or business units rather than by individual establishments. For example, a company could develop an affirmative action program for all sales associates across multiple offices in different states as opposed to creating one for each work site.

OFCCP reviewed its policies regarding the FAAP process and made significant changes, including requiring written approval by the agency’s director before contractors can begin developing FAAP agreements, thereby eliminating the provision for automatic approval if OFCCP failed to act upon the request within 120 days; changing the expiration date for each agreement from three to five years, at which point a renewal will have to be approved; and adding the possibility of a compliance evaluation by OFCCP should contractors fail to submit the required annual updates to their agreements.

All contractors who currently have an approved FAAP agreement will be required to renew it in accordance with the new guidance. Contractors without these agreements should continue to maintain and develop establishment-based AAPs. Answers to frequently asked questions about the FAAP can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/faqs/faapfaqs.htm.

The new guidance rescinds a previous directive, Administrative Notice/Functional AAP, issued March 21, 2002, and ends a yearlong suspension in the acceptance of requests to develop or renew FAAP agreements while the program was under review.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Read the news release here: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20110973.htm