According to many reports, federal contractors employ as much as one-fifth of the US workforce. As a result, the federal contracting workforce is usually the first to see new developments in the area of employment law. While not yet over, 2014 has already brought a number of significant employment law changes for federal contractors that will likely have a noticeable impact on Alaska's business community. As your company prepares for the upcoming calendar year, please keep in mind the following important developments:
Minimum Wage Increase: Pursuant to a February 12, 2014, Executive Order, the federal minimum wage will increase to $10.10 per hour effective January 1, 2015. The Department of Labor released a proposed rule to implement this new minimum wage (RIN1235-AA10) and the final rule is expected to issue by October 1, 2014. Already positioned to begin enforcement of the new wage rate, the Department of Labor also issued a memorandum of guidance (Memo No. M-1409 dated June 12, 2014) to all federal agencies outlining enforcement suggestions. In addition to increasing the minimum rate, the new law eliminates an existing exception that allows employers to pay disabled workers who are in specialized certification programs less than other workers, thereby establishing that beginning January 1, 2015, all workers will be entitled to the $10.10 pay rate.
Requirement to Disclose Violations: Pursuant to a July 2014 Executive Order known as the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order," contractors looking to be awarded a new or renewed federal contract totaling $500,000 or more will soon be required to disclose any violation of fourteen federal statutes or equivalent state laws covering, among other issues, wage and hour (Fair Labor Standards Act), workplace safety (Occupational Safety and Health Act), family and medical leave (Family and Medical Leave Act), collective bargaining (National Labor Relations Act), and civil rights protections (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Intended to help level the playing field for those contractors making a concerted effort to comply with these laws and adjust procurement procedures to disadvantage those who are not, the requirement, which is expected to go into effect in 2016, will require a disclosure of any violations within the last three years and will flow down to subcontractors.
Notice of Pay and Prohibition Against Arbitration: The "Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order" also...