Every industry has its specific laws and guidelines for hiring contractors. Whether a company is outsourcing work to a specific team or bringing on a single contractor, they follow a set of best practices to stay competitive in their industry. The same can be said when working with the federal government, except on a much larger scale. Along with overarching requirements, each agency has its own set of policies, and these firms can be audited at any time.
To make sure that you are following processes legally, start by digging into these laws and regulations for working with government contractors.
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
The first place to turn when researching regulations for hiring government contractors is the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which is a set of rules in the Code of Federal Regulations that outline how to procure goods and services (in this case contract labor) on behalf of the government.
While the vast majority of government agencies follow these rules, there are some that are exempt (like the Federal Aviation Administration). However, exempt agencies often have other regulations specific to their work that are just as strict, if not more.
Many government workers will refer to these regulations as “the FAR” and turn to it as a valued set of guidelines, not necessarily a strict rulebook. If you have any questions or concerns, turn to this book for answers.
Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA)
While the FAR is still a valuable guide for anyone working with government contractors or serving as a government contractor, the FASA is its modern counterpart. This set of regulations was passed in 1994 to simplify the procurement processes laid on in the FAR. The FASA repealed or modified more than 225 statutes to modernize working with government contractors. Use these guidelines for modern interpretations of the law and best practices for hiring contractors.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
Many of the same laws that apply to private-sector workers also apply to government contractors, so familiarizing your team with some of the basics can keep you out of hot water.
For example, many of the executive orders issued by President Obama about government contractors and additions to existing laws are focused around the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Act. This act protects contractors and employees from specific types of job discrimination.
Employers are forbidden from discriminating based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. For contractors, the government agency may need to follow additional steps during the hiring process to make sure EEO guidelines are followed – or contractors may need to show that they follow these guidelines as well.
Service Contract Act (SCA)
The full name of the SCA is the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and covers fair pay for government contractors. According to this law, government contractors are expected to receive fair pay based on wages in the region. This is meant to ensure a reasonable cost of living for the contractor while continuing to make the government a lucrative organization to work for.
The SCA sets clear guidelines for paying contractors who earn less than $2,500 as well as those who earn more than $10,000. It also explains how new contractors can step in and replace previous ones – and how their pay rates are protected.
Davis Bacon Act (DBA)
If you haven’t heard of SCA, then you likely have heard of the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA). Colloquially called Davis-Bacon, this act also covers contractor wages. Davis-Bacon was passed in 1931 and stated that all contractors need to be paid on-par with private-sector workers and government employees in their region.
This act also ensures that contractors receive a fair wage, and everything covered under Davis-Bacon coincides with SCA (and vice versa). Essentially, you need to understand how much you will be paying your contractors to know which law will apply to you. If SCA regulations don’t cover your employment situation, then Davis-Bacon likely will.
SCA and Davis-Bacon regulations will most likely impact contractors and employers in areas with a high cost of living. For example, contractors in San Francisco, New York, Maui, and Miami, will need to earn more to cover rent and other expenses. Otherwise, these contractors will not be able to get by on the government work alone.
Work With a Team That Knows Your Specific Regulations
While these laws can serve as a general catch-all for government regulations, they are by no means a comprehensive list of every law and guidelines out there when working with contractors. If you want to effectively hire contractors for government work, consider working with a company that specializes in the legal and financial responsibilities that come with this work.
At Corban OneSource, we work with a diverse group of industries to handle their HR, from hiring and onboarding to payroll. We are prepared to work with government agencies and companies that rely on them as clients.
Schedule a free discovery call today to learn more about what we do and how we can help you.