Small Business Recertification, Sick Leave, Wage Determinations Among Coming GSA Schedule Changes

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As part of the regulatory updates to Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, General Services Administration (GSA) announced in an Interact blog post on March 9, 2017, that contracting officers may require contractors re-representing their size status from small to large to submit a subcontracting plan after the re-certification. A number of other impactful changes will be incorporated in the upcoming round of solicitation refreshes.

In a March 22 webinar, GSA noted that several of the updates have already appeared in recent refreshes to a few solicitations – most notably the Professional Services Schedule. Refreshes to the remaining schedule solicitations are tentatively planned for April 2017. Here are the changes contractors should review carefully before accepting the mandatory modification:

Small Business Subcontracting

Significant changes will occur to small business subcontracting requirements. These changes were outlined in an earlier Fed Point blog. These changes implement the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council final rule effective November 1, 2016, which aimed at improving subcontracting regulations to increase small business opportunities.

Paid Sick Leave

This update implements an interim rule requiring contractors to provide sick leave to employees on covered contracts. Please see this earlier blog for further information on these new requirements and their applicability.

Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems

This update has already rolled out to some solicitations. Clause 52.204-21, Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems (June 2016) applies to any contractor information system that may contain federal contract information, meaning “information, not intended for public release, that is provided by or generated for the Government under a contract to develop or deliver a product or service to the Government.”

The new provisions address systems that process, store, or transmit federal contract information by identifying 15 security-control requirements “reflective of actions a prudent business person would employ.” This avoids reference to the pre-existing NIST standard, and simply mandates that a contractor apply “minimum” controls.

This flows down to any subcontract when the subcontractor may have federal contract information residing in or transiting through its information system.

Eligible Schedule Purchasers

GSA will codify in the solicitations, regulatory updates from GSA Order OGP 4800.2I (July 19, 2016). GSA also expanded the state and local disaster purchasing program to include disaster preparation and response, as well as recovery from major disasters. The updates will add the American National Red Cross and other qualified organizations, including National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), as eligible GSA schedule buyers for emergency preparedness and disaster relief.

The state and local disaster purchasing program will remain voluntary; vendors can opt into or out of the program at any time during the contract term.

Updated Service Contract Act (SCA) Wage Determinations (WDs)

The new wage determinations will contain an increased Health & Welfare (HW) hourly amount of $4.27, an increase from the currently incorporated $4.02. Additionally, the new WDs are likely to contain increased minimum wages for the first time in a number of years. Contractors have 30 days from the date they accept the mass modification to request price increases related to the new WDs.

Trade Agreements Act (TAA) Designated Countries

GSA added Montenegro and New Zealand as new designated countries under the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement (WTO GPA), meaning products made in those countries may be included on GSA contracts. Many schedules, such as Schedule 70 (Information Technology), already contain this update.

High Global Warming Potential (GWP) Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

This provision will not apply to all GSA schedules. The clause incorporates requirements from a rule providing that contractors will be required to report annually the amount of HFCs contained in equipment delivered to the Government or added or taken out of Government equipment under service contracts.

Removal of Pathways to Success Training Requirement for Streamlined Offers

Pathways to Success training will no longer be required for successful GSA contractors meeting criteria for streamlined offers.

For more information on the imminent solicitation refreshes, please contact Hope Lane at 301.231.6266 or

About Robert Howe

As a managing consultant in Aronson’s Government Contract Services Group, Rob Howe guides GSA Schedule efforts for clients across a wide variety of industries. With more than 14 years of direct experience with GSA contracts, he assists his clients with contract preparation, renewals, and ongoing contract management, administration, and compliance support. Prior to joining Aronson, Rob worked on government contract bid protests, qui tam, false claims, and other litigation before boards of contract appeals, the federal claims courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. As an expert in the field, he has also worked on many publications in government contracts law. Rob received his bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in Minnesota and ABA-approved paralegal certification from George Washington University in 1986.

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