28 March 2017

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order Officially Dead

The troubled saga of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces reporting has come to an end. Yesterday, President Trump signed a congressional disapproval resolution that officially scraps the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673. That Executive Order, informally known in the business community as the “Blacklisting Rule,” was signed by former President Obama in July 2014. It would have required certain federal contractors to disclose labor and employment violations of 14 federal laws and state equivalents involving civil judgments, arbitration rulings, and agency determinations. Reports were to be required every six months to Federal agencies with which covered contracts were held. Agency Labor Compliance Advisors would determine whether any self-reported violation was of a serious, repeated, willful or pervasive nature sufficient to disqualify the bid or contract.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces requirements would have gone into effect for new contracts beginning January 1, 2017. However, the requirements have been in limbo since a Texas Federal District Judge issued an injunction blocking the program in October 2016.

A disapproval resolution allows the U.S. Congress to overrule an agency’s regulatory enactments. The House of Representatives voted for the disapproval resolution in early February, and the Senate followed suit on March 6. That sent the resolution to President Trump, who signed it yesterday. Not only does this rescind the Executive Order, but it permanently bans the U.S. Department of Labor from proposing a similar requirement in the future.

In adopting the disapproval resolution, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell stated that federal contracting companies indeed should be held accountable and employee rights protected. However, current laws are adequate to do that.

For now, federal government contractors can stand down on any further planning for compliance with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces “Blacklisting Rule.”