Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 29, 2016
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On the Inside
GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Government Shutdown Averted: Continuing Resolution Prohibits New Starts for Federal Construction Projects
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC-Supported WRDA Bill Overwhelmingly Passes House
LABOR / HR
New EEO-1 Report Finalized; First Report Due March 2018
House Passes AGC-Supported Legislation Delaying Overtime Rule, Enactment Unlikely
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
DOL Issues Final Rule Implementing Paid Sick Leave Executive Order
Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Increases to $10.20
AGC Provides More Information on SBA’s new Mentor-Protégé Program
TRANSPORTATION
Autonomous Vehicles, Cybersecurity, Construction Technology Developments, & More
GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Government Shutdown Averted: Continuing Resolution Prohibits New Starts for Federal Construction Projects
 

Yesterday, the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating through Dec. 9. The CR was necessary as Congress has once again failed to enact any of the 12 annual appropriations bills before Sept. 30. The CR, which largely funds government operations at fiscal year 2016 levels, prohibits new starts for any federal construction projects and fails to provide the increase in federal highway and transit funding that was authorized through the FAST Act for fiscal year 2017. Additionally, the CR did not include many of the AGC-supported policy riders. However, AGC will continue to advocate for enactment of fiscal year 2017 funding bills that end the prohibition on new starts for federal construction projects, provide increased funding for federal transportation programs and include AGC-supported policy riders. Congress will have to refocus on completing the annual funding bills when they return to Washington, DC after the November elections.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.  Return to Top

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WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC-Supported WRDA Bill Overwhelmingly Passes House
 

The House of Representatives passed (399-25) the AGC-supported Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. Among other water resources projects, the House WRDA bill authorizes roughly $5 billion in funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works projects, including navigation (dredging, locks), flood control (levees), hydropower (dams), recreation (parks), and water supply. The House Bill also includes $300 million for the Great Lakes protection measures and $170 million to clean up Flint, Michigan's contaminated drinking water. The Senate passed its WRDA bill on Sept. 15. The House and Senate will likely hold a conference on the two WRDA 2016 bills after the elections in November. AGC will continue to pursue passage of WRDA in both the House and Senate and fight for all AGC priorities in the bill through conference and presidential signature.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

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LABOR / HR
New EEO-1 Report Finalized; First Report Due March 2018
 

On Sept. 29, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that starting March 2018, it will collect summary employee wage and hours-worked data from some employers. Earlier this year, AGC submitted comments to both the EEOC and the Office of Management and Budget explaining that the collection of wage and hours-worked data is not necessary because better tools already exist to assist with compensation benchmarking.  Additionally, AGC argued that national wage data is useless for benchmarking purposes in construction and government analysis will not account for a wide variety of factors used to determine compensation.

Employers – including federal contractors and subcontractors – with 100 or more employees will report summary pay data using the new form. Federal contractors and subcontractors with 50-99 employees will not report summary pay data, but they will continue to report employees by job category as well as by sex, ethnicity, and race. Employers with 99 or fewer employees and federal contractors and subcontractors with 49 or fewer employees will not be required to complete the EEO-1 report as is current practice.  Federal contractor and subcontractor data will be shared with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.  Employers are required to continue using the existing form until March 2018, when 2017 data will be reported. Visit the EEOC’s website for a sample of the new form

A Fact Sheet for Small Businesses and a question and answer document can be found on the EEOC’s website.  For additional information and resources, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources website. The primary category is “EEO.”

For more information, contact Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org or (703) 837-5382. Return to Top

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House Passes AGC-Supported Legislation Delaying Overtime Rule, Enactment Unlikely
 

The Department of Labor’s rule changing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations by doubling the standard salary threshold for exempt employees – from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year goes into effect on Dec. 1. AGC has opposed the rule because the increase is too much for a contractor to absorb at once, the threshold failed to account for lower wage regions and employers cannot unilaterally raise salaries. AGC also is concerned employers will be forced to take drastic measures to comply with the rule that will result in them reclassifying impacted workers, limiting weekly hours to no more than 40, limiting fringe benefits, eliminating some positions, or transitioning some positions to part time.

Yesterday, the House passed Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6094) which would delay the effective date of the Overtime Rule by six months. However, the President has issued his opposition to the bill and the Senate will unlikely act before the rule is set to go into effect on Dec. 1, absent a successful legal challenge to the rule.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133. Return to Top

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
DOL Issues Final Rule Implementing Paid Sick Leave Executive Order
 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today released its final rule to implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors.  The final rule requires contractors with direct federal contracts and their subcontractors to provide employees working on or in connection with such contracts up to seven days (56 hours) of paid leave annually for sickness and other purposes.

AGC submitted extensive comments regarding the DOL proposed rule and testified before Congress on the significant statutory and practical compliance problems the executive order presents for the construction industry.  AGC will review the final rule and provide more information on this development for its members in the coming days. In the interim, a few answers to some questions on this final rule include:

  • What types of contracts will require this new mandate? This mandate will apply only to direct federal agency contracts (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs contracts). The mandate does not apply to contracts issued by state government agencies, like state departments of transportation, even if they are federally funded.
  • What types of employees are covered? Employees who perform work on or in connection with a contract governed by the Davis-Bacon Act or Service Contract Act must receive at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. This includes employees who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  An exemption applies to employees who perform work in connection with covered contracts (but are not directly engaged in specific work called for by the contract) that amounts to less than 20 percent of their work hours in a given week. 
  • When will this mandate be included in direct federal contracts? Solicitations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2017, that result in new federal contracts will include the mandate, assuming the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council completes a rulemaking and issues a FAR clause for this mandate before that date.  Special timing applies to implementation for workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.
  • How will flow-down of this mandate work to subcontractors? Federal prime contractors must include the applicable contract clause in its subcontracts and require, as a condition of payment, that subcontractors include the contract clause in any lower-tier subcontracts. The prime contractor and any upper-tier contractor are responsible for compliance by any subcontractor or lower-tier subcontractor with the requirements of the executive order.

Further analysis and resources will be provided soon.

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd@agc.org or Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org Return to Top

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Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Increases to $10.20
 

On September 20, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a minimum wage increase of $0.05 to $10.20 per hour for direct federal contracts and subcontracts covered by Executive Order 13658.  Federally assisted contracts are not affected.  The rate goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The Executive Order mandated that the Secretary of Labor determine a new minimum wage annually, based on the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage and clerical workers. Notice is required to the public at least 90 days before the new wage goes into effect each year.

Impacted workers include those whose wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act , the Service Contract Act, and non-exempt workers whose wages are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for all time spent directly supporting a covered contract.  FLSA-covered workers who do not spend at least 20 percent of the workweek directly supporting a covered contract are excluded. 

Covered contractors with existing projects or awards are entitled to an adjustment by federal agencies if the annual inflation increase was not covered by the existing contract or award. 

For more information on Executive Order 13658 including AGC’s impact on the final rule, click here or contact Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org or (703) 837-5382. Return to Top

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AGC Provides More Information on SBA’s new Mentor-Protégé Program
Thursday, Oct. 6 | 2:00-3:30 p.m. EDT
 

The federal construction contracting marketplace faces the potential for a dramatic change as a result of a new U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) rule on an expanded mentor-protégé program for small businesses. Register now for a complimentary webinar for AGC members to learn about what all federal contractors—big and small—need to know about the new SBA mentor-protégé program & other small business changes. These new regulations expand the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program to all small businesses. This will translate into more opportunities for large and small construction contractors to form joint ventures and bid on small business set-aside work. Topics explained:

  • The Potential Impacts of this New Program on Federal Contracting and Your Construction Business;
  • Basics of the New SBA Mentor Protégé Program;
  • What Contractors Should Know Before Participating in the New SBA Mentor Protégé Program;
  • How will SBA Handle Applications for the New Mentor Protégé Program; and
  • The Changes to Small Business Subcontracting Plans and its Impact on Large and Small Businesses.

The SBA will begin accepting applications for the All Small Mentor Protégé Program on October 1, 2016. To read AGC’s analysis of the rule click here.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
Autonomous Vehicles, Cybersecurity, Construction Technology Developments, & More
AGC Highway and Transportation Construction Conference | November 3-5 | Phoenix, AZ
 

The AGC Highway and Transportation Construction Conference will feature all the cutting edge subjects that will impact the highway and transportation market over the next several years. How will autonomous vehicles impact road construction? What’s the latest in machine guidance systems and other technology developments? Is your company safe from ransomware, hacking and other cyber threats?

Join your fellow highway, transit and bridge contractors and get up to date at the 2016 Highway and Transportation Construction Conference (formerly the Highway Contractors Conference) November 3-5, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.

For more information, visit meetings.agc.org/highway or contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. Return to Top

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