ISSA recently reported that on July 31, President Obama issued an executive order placing tough new requirements on companies that contract with the federal government. According to the new Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, "Labor laws are designed to promote safe, healthy, fair, and effective workplaces. Contractors that consistently adhere to labor laws are more likely to have workplace practices that enhance productivity and increase the likelihood of timely, predictable, and satisfactory delivery of goods and services to the Federal Government."

The order seeks to identify contractors with "track records of compliance," meaning preference will be given to contractors who have not had administrative merits determinations, arbitral awards or decisions, or civil judgments issued by the Department of Labor in the past three years for several labor laws, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The order requires federal procurement officers to provide contractors with an opportunity to disclose any steps taken to correct any violations or improve compliance with labor laws, including any agreements entered into with an enforcement agency. In addition, the agency's Labor Compliance Advisor will consult with the relevant enforcement agency and advise the procurement officer on whether agreements are in place or are otherwise needed to address remedial measures, compliance assistance, steps to resolve issues to avoid further violations, or other related matters.

When awarding contracts, procurement officers will consider the information when deciding if a contractor is "a responsible source that has a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics." The order directs the FAR council to consult with the Department of Labor, the Office of Management and Budget, relevant enforcement agencies, and contracting agencies to propose amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to identify considerations for determining whether serious, repeated, willful, or pervasive violations of the labor laws demonstrate a lack of integrity or business ethics. Such considerations shall apply to the integrity and business ethics determinations made by both contracting officers and contractors under to the order.

Click here to read the entire Executive Order.