National Association of Government Contractors

White House Wants Blacklisting Provisions Gone

Federal contractors will not face requirements aimed at protecting employees from wage theft and unsafe working conditions under a rule the Trump administration finalized on Monday.

The rule follows a resolution Republican lawmakers passed and President Trump signed in March under the Congressional Review Act, which voided an Obama administration push for more transparent compliance with workplace laws for employees working on federal contracts.

While most of the provisions of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces initiative were never enforced after a federal court blocked their implementation, the Trump administration pointed out that some related provisions seem  to have made their way into some contracts anyway.

President Obama pushed a rule known as "paycheck transparency," which required contractors to provide detailed statements on their hours worked and compensation earned.

That provision was never enjoined in court, meaning some federal contracts signed in 2017 with an estimated value of more than $500,000 may have already included the requirement. The goal of provision was to ensure employees were protected against wage theft by their employer.

"This and all other Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces provisions and clauses are unenforceable," the Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA wrote in the joint rule. "That clause will need to be removed if it was included."

Obama's 2016 rule would have required employers bidding on federal contracts to disclose violations and alleged violations of 14 federal labor laws and similar state labor laws.

While many contractors and Republican lawmakers resisted the plan as a burdensome form of "blacklisting" that penalized companies for unproven violations, congressional Democrats issued a report that of the top 100 largest federal contractors in 2015, almost two-thirds had been found in violation of federal labor laws.

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