By Ross Wilkers
May 12, 2020
Government contractors have been pushing for language in economic relief legislation coming out of Congress that specifically addresses their industry and apparently they have it in draft text released Tuesday.
Four provisions are tied to the GovCon market in the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, also known as the HEROES Act,” that House Democrats are proposing as the next package of aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two of those provisions have to do with payments. One would require prime contractors be paid within 15 days after the receipt of a proper invoice, and the other would mandate uniform non-government wide guidance to clarify the implementation of language from the last economic relief law known as the CARES Act.
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act enacted in March lets agencies modify contracts to reimburse contractors for paid leave in the event that employees cannot get to their designated facilities because of shelter-in-place or other restrictions that limit gatherings of people. The intent behind that is to let companies keep their workforces in a “ready state” for when they can return to work.
The HEROES Act also requires agencies to let contractor personnel have telework privileges “to the maximum extent practicable,” plus directs contracting officers to document any decision to not allow for remote work in the contract file. Contractors also would not receive adverse performance ratings due to disruptions caused by the pandemic or other aspects related to the national emergency.
David Berteau, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, said in a statement Tuesday that the contractor trade group sees these provisions as helping "ensure that federal government contractors can continue their work and provide needed support that keeps the government fully operating for the American people."
“Across the country, companies are rallying to ensure the availability of critical supplies and services to address the coronavirus crisis. This package supports this effort, maintains workforce employment, and sustains the industrial base -- including many small businesses -- by keeping companies working and funded," Berteau said.
“PSC also urges Congress to address in any legislation additional issues impacting the federal contractors, such as tax equality for leave-sharing programs, common-sense changes in supply chain security requirements, and a fair equitable adjustment process for companies affected by the emergency.”