Service Contract Act
The Service Contract Act (SCA) applies to certain federal contracts worth at least $2,500 and penalties for noncompliance are severe. At Centre, we not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Centre holds public SCA courses, conducts compliance reviews for contractors, and defends investigations and actions brought by the Department of Labor against contractors for alleged SCA violations. Centre also just launched a quarterly SCA newsletter. Click here to have it mailed to your office.
SCA compliance is especially difficult because the regulations are complicated and it touches various departments within an organization including accounting, human resources, program management, contracts and executive management. Often times we find no one handles SCA compliance because they believe another department is handling it.
Service Contract Act Training
Centre runs a two-day course for contractors and the government on the ins and outs of SCA compliance through its training entity, the Federal Contracting Institute. The course gives attendees practical solutions to various issues and a toolbox of information that can be used to help ensure compliance.
More information on SCA training can be found here.
Service Contract Act Compliance
Is your company SCA compliant? Centre has helped small companies and some of the world’s largest government contractors conduct internal reviews to ensure they have the proper systems in place to help confirm they are SCA compliant. Our reviews take all kinds of shapes and sizes, but we have done and will do any of the following:
- Examine internal handbooks and guidebooks to confirm they use the proper language and instruct employees in an appropriate manner
- Review payroll records and timecards and compare with legal requirements
- Map employees to corporate and Department of Labor (DOL) job descriptions
- Examine in-take procedures for SCA contracts to determine whether proper systems are in place to properly detect and handle SCA contracts
- Review employee notification procedures
- Interview various departments to understand their roles in SCA compliance and make recommendations to plug any holes
Don’t let the first time you hear of an SCA issue in your company be when DOL contacts you. Contact us first.
Service Contract Act Investigations
Is your company being investigated by DOL? There are numerous pitfalls during the SCA investigative process and it may be helpful to have legal representation out front or in the background. The process can sometimes be lengthy and intrusive with requests for interviews of senior management, employees and requests for enormous amounts of documentation.
Usually, the process is as follows:
- Compliant by an employee (if one is made)
- Confidential interview of complainant by DOL
- Initial meeting at the company with relevant records asked to be produced
- Further interviews with employees and management
- Closing interview discussing DOL’s findings
At the closing interview, if DOL has found a violation, they will request that you agree to pay the back wages owed and to sign a form agreeing to do so. After this occurs, DOL further evaluates the investigation and determines whether further action will be taken, whether it is a withhold action or debarment.
Service Contract Act Debarment Proceedings
We hope it never comes to this, but DOL has been bringing an increasing amount of debarment proceedings. As a technical matter, debarment can occur no matter the size of the violation. The proceeding is much like a court case, though the judge is a DOL employee (an Administrative Law Judge or “ALJ”). You have the ability to serve discovery demands and depose witnesses (including DOL employees) and they have the same ability. At the end of this “discovery” phase, a trial with witnesses, testimony, and evidence usually occurs.
After the trial, the ALJ rules whether a violation occurs, if there is a defense to the violation and the proper punishment. This is appealable within DOL and eventually to federal court.
Centre’s SCA Reading Room
Want more information? Subscribe to our newsletter or join our LinkedIn Group. Both are free and chock full of practical information.
We have also assembled some helpful information below. Feel free to take a look!
As part of its ongoing effort to educate the contracting community regarding the SCA, we invite you to explore the following:
- Service Contract Act Training – visit here to learn about our Service Contract Act Boot Camp course and register today.
- There are ways a company can lower their risk of being in violation of the SCA.
- Centre has developed a “Top 10″ list which can help minimize your risk of violating the SCA. Go to our Top 10 list.
- Centre has also put together a list of facts that every government contractor should know. Go to the list.
- What does that mean? Centre has created a list of commonly used terms and acronyms you find when dealing with the SCA. Go to the list.
- The statutes and regulations are the underpinnings of every action a contractor should take. Learn about them by going here.
- *New Case Available* Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. To help avoid contractors avoid repeating history, Centre has analyzed important SCA cases and given our take. Reading about these cases can another helpful way to learn what to do to avoid penalties under the SCA. Read about lessons learned by going here.
In addition, here are some important links that contain practical information for contractors regarding the SCA.
If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, here are some helpful legal links about the SCA:
- Regulations describing the labor standards for federal government contracts (29 CFR, Part 4).
- Regulations describing practices for administrative proceedings enforcing labor standards (29 CFR, Part 6).
- Regulations describing practice before the Administrative Review Board with respect to federal service contracts (29 CFR, Part 8).
Other helpful information:
- Official Department of Labor Website Listing Wage Determinations by locality.
- DOL FAQs – Wages & Work Hours.
Centre’s attorneys and staff are prepared to help you through your SCA issues, whether you have a legal issue, want to ensure SCA compliance, or need SCA training. For questions or to learn more, contact Barbara Kinosky, Esq. at 703-288-2800.
Visit Centre’s LinkedIn Group: Service Contract Act Forum. Read about the latest news and get your questions answered.