NIH Contractor Accused of Underpaying Workers Agrees to Settlement

In a related case, a subcontractor for the company admitted to hiring illegal aliens for demolition work at the Bethesda research center

BY ANDREW METCALF
Published: 2016.02.22 11:00
Federal prosecutors announced Monday that a Washington, D.C., construction and cleaning firm has agreed to pay at least $450,000 to settle a case in which it was accused by whistleblowers of not paying its workers legally required wages while they were working at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

The settlement stemmed out of a larger case in which multiple construction firms were accused by electricians and other employees of underpaying their workers, but then telling the federal government they were adhering to prevailing wage requirements as required by their federal contracts.

(Read More)

U.S. Department of Labor Publishes Final Rule Implementing Pay Transparency Executive Order

posted on: Friday, September 11, 2015

 

Today (September 10, 2015), the Department of Labor issued its final rule, implementing Executive Order 13665  (the “Order”), which prohibits federal contractors from firing or otherwise disciplining employees or job applicants for discussing their pay or the pay of their co-workers.  The final rule goes into effect on January 11, 2016.

The final rule comes after the Department of Labor received 6,524 comments from stakeholders.  Among other things, the final rule amends the equal opportunity clauses in Executive Order (“EO”) 11246 to afford protections to workers who discuss pay; codifies certain defenses for contractors; and adds employee notice provisions.  The new regulation’s key points are discussed below.

Applicability

The final rule applies to both federal contracts and subcontracts “entered into or modified on or after [January 11, 2016] that exceed $10,000 in value.”  Modification of a contract includes changes to any term or condition of the contract, as well as extensions and renewals of existing contracts.

(Read More)

Sunshine Week: Beat reporter shines light on schools’ use of federal contracts

By Robert Brauchle

March 16, 2015

 

Reporter Ryan Murphy began 2014 with a tip that Isle of Wight County Schools may have skirted federal regulations in the construction of the new Georgie D. Tyler Middle School.

Using the state Freedom of Information Act to access copies of contracts, emails and bid documents, the Daily Press Isle of Wight County beat reporter found that the school division had omitted wage standards from the construction contract that are required under the federal Davis-Bacon Act. The effect was to lower the cost of construction by underpaying local workers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I spent a couple of months digging into the documents and digging into legislation to figure out exactly what had happened,” Murphy said.

Murphy worked with school administrators to get the documents he needed.

(Read More)

US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez announces final rule raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers

Rule raises the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for covered workers

WASHINGTON — Upholding President Obama’s promise to make 2014 a year of action to expand opportunity, reward work and grow the middle class, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today announced a final rule that raises the minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts to $10.10 per hour. The final rule implements Executive Order 13658, which was announced by the president on Feb. 12, and it will benefit nearly 200,000 American workers.

“No one who works full time in America should have to raise their family in poverty, and if you serve meals to our troops for a living, then you shouldn’t have to go on food stamps in order to serve a meal to your family at home,” said Secretary Perez. “By raising the minimum wage for workers on federal contracts, we’re rewarding a hard day’s work with fair pay. This action will also benefit taxpayers. Boosting wages lowers turnover and increases morale, and will lead to higher productivity.”

The final rule provides guidance and sets standards for employers concerning what contracts are covered and which of their workers are covered. The rule also establishes obligations that contractors must fulfill to comply with the minimum wage provisions of the executive order, including record-keeping requirements. It provides guidance about where to find the required rate of pay for all workers, including tipped employees and workers with disabilities. Additionally, the rule establishes an enforcement process that should be familiar to most government contractors and will protect the right of workers to receive the new $10.10 minimum wage.

(Read More)

(Minimum Wage Executive Order Final Rule)

(PDF of Final Rule)

(PDF of Executive Order 13658)

(Secretary Perez Blog – A Promise Made and a Promise Kept)