CARES Act Allows Payments to Contractors When They Can’t Work

CARES Act Allows Payments to Contractors When They Can’t Work

Coley has received several inquiries from our Federal contracting community as to how to recoup revenue lost as a result of being unable to fulfil contractual obligations due to the work interruption caused by the COVID-19 national emergency.  Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act CARES Act, signed on March 27, contains provisions that apply to contractors unable to complete their contractual obligation due to work stoppage.  If a Federal contractor’s employees cannot work on a Federal Contract due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contractor may be entitled to relief from contractual obligations and continue to receive payment.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-20-19, issued on March 20, 2020 recognized the disruption that could be caused by work stoppages and suspended payments to Federal contractors in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.  The memorandum instructed Federal contracting personnel to “feel fully empowered to use acquisition flexibilities” during the national emergency.    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-18.pdf

Building on this need for flexiblity, Section 3610 if the CARES Act provides funds that allow contracting officers to reimburse contractors at the minimum applicable contract billing rates not to exceed an average of 40 hours per week in order to help contractors keep its employees or subcontractors in a ready state to resume work. https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr748/BILLS-116hr748eas.pdf

The limitations on the funds and contractual relief are that employees (or subcontractors) working on a Federal site that has been ordered not to work onsite, but their work cannot be performed remotely during the national emergency.  The other limitation is that the funds and contractual relief expire on September 30, 2020.

We all know how important it is to be informed in these times and of the many challenges that Federal contractors face, professionally and personally, during this national emergency.  Coley has continued to work without interruption to support its clients and will continue to share developments that affect our clients and the Federal contracting community.

GSA Provides 60-Day SAM.gov Extension

GSA Provides 60-Day SAM.gov Extension

You probably have many things on your mind right now other than renewing your SAM.gov registration. Given that business and government alike are focused on responding to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 national emergency, the General Services Administration (GSA) has announced that it will grant 60-day extensions to companies whose SAM registrations expire between March 19 and May 17, 2020.  For example, if your SAM.gov registration is scheduled to expire on April 1, 2020, you now have until May 28, 2020 to renew.   You need not take any other additional action at this time.

GSA estimates that more than 60,000 SAM.gov registrations will benefit from this extension.  GSA will continue to process renewals throughout the coming months in hopes of keeping the system moving, allowing your Government customers to pay you. 

Over the past two decades, Coley has assisted hundreds of customers on all manner of Federal contracting issues, including creating and renewing SAM.gov registrations and its predecessor, CCR.  We have continuously kept you informed of all changes that could affect your government business, including SAM.gov, and will continue to do so through the current COVID-19 emergency, and in the future, just as we always have.  When it comes time to renew your registration, you know that Coley will be there.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act- What does it Mean for Your Business?

Families First Coronavirus Response Act- What does it Mean for Your Business?

As part of the national response to the COVID 19 virus pandemic, President Trump signed “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (HR 6201), a new law that expands the “Family and Medical Leave Act” (FMLA)  to include provisions for employees and their families affected by the coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic.  These provisions have potentially large impacts on employers and employee compensation. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text\.

The law specifies the conditions for FMLA leave that apply to employees in the following situations wherein the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a coronavirus-related need for leave. The conditions are that the employee be:

  1. subject to a Federal, State, or local government-mandated COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order 
  2. advised by a qualified health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19
  3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. caring for an individual subject to an order described above
  5. caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed for reasons related to COVID-19; (and no other childcare option is available)
  6. experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury

Under the Act, Companies with less than 500 employees must provide employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected FMLA leave; 2 weeks of the leave may be unpaid and the other 10 weeks must be paid at no less than 2/3 of the employee’s usual rate of pay.  This employee must have been employed for 30 days or more and the leave may be used only where one of the above coronavirus-related situations described above exists. Payments to the employee are limited to $200 per day or $10,000 for the 12 weeks.

Another coronavirus-related situation addressed by this law requires employers with fewer than 500 to allow employees who are sick with COVID 19-related illness up to two weeks of job-protected sick leave with a compensation cap of $511 per day for the employee’s own care.  Compensation would be at the regular rate of pay unless the employee is caring for a family member such as in the conditions outlined above.

Part of the next Coronavirus relief package currently under discussion in Congress are a series of tax credits and deductions or other relief that will be offered to defray the cost of the coronavirus-related leave requirements on small businesses already reeling from the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

For further information, please consult the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division:

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

For the past two decades, Coley clients have relied on our experts to keep abreast of any and all legislative and regulatory issues that impact their businesses.  The current pandemic is no exception—we are on duty to support you.

GSA Issues Guide to MAS Modification Transition

GSA Issues Guide to MAS Modification Transition

GSA Schedule holders have been profoundly affected by the transition to one, unified Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), which has occurred in three phases. 

Phase One:

On October 1, 2019, GSA released the single, unified GSA MAS Schedule solicitation, consolidating 24 GSA schedules into one, and reducing the number of Special Item Numbers (SINs) from 900 to 300. 

Phase Two:

January 31, 2020, GSA released a mass modification for current schedule holders to transfer over into the MAS.

Phase Three:

In July 2020, GSA will contact vendors with multiple GSA Schedules to determine their best option for consolidation into one schedule. 

The transition has raised many practical questions, and to address them, GSA issued final MAS Modification guidelines on March 6, 2020 on the GSA Interact forum and the Vendor Support Center (VSC) website.

The MAS guidelines were the result of GSA integrating vendor comments and concerns gathered through a Request for Information (RFI) issued on January 3, 2020.  The guidance addresses the following types of modification:

  • Administrative (contractor information corrections)
  • Addition of products or labor categories
  • Deletion of products or labor categories
  • Pricing (price increases and reductions)
  • Technical modifications (part numbers, product/labor category descriptions)

The MAS Modification Guide shares information and tips for preparing/submitting the following:

  • Administrative Modifications: Unilateral modifications submitted by contractors to keep company information up to date such as: address, email address, Point-of-Contact (POC), Authorized Negotiator, Contract Administrator, or Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) POC.
  • Addition Modifications: Adds products, services, or SINs to a company’s Schedule offerings.
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Novations and Name Change
  • Contract Cancellations.

The guidance also includes new price proposal templates for modifications.  You can download some of templates provided below:

SAMPLES:

TEMPLATES:

We at Coley stay ahead of the many changes taking place at GSA in order to serve our clients better in the use and management of their GSA Schedule contracts.  While these changes can be confusing, our GSA Schedule experts can demystify the many changes taking place through the MAS consolidation and help you navigate. If you have any questions, reach out to Coley via email at [email protected]

$5 Billion in New Opportunities with the VA for SDVOSBs

$5 Billion in New Opportunities with the VA for SDVOSBs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of General Counsel overturned the VA’s previous determination that VETS First and Rule of Two did not apply to purchases under the $10,000 micropurchase threshold.  The Office of the General Counsel in fact determined that VA micropurchases also fall under the Vets First and Rule of Two, which opens up an additional $5 billion in business to Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOSBs). This is especially good news for SDVOSBs that sell products, which are frequently purchased under the micropurchases program.

This follows on the case of PDS Consultants, Inc. v U.S. (Federal Circuit 2018), decided October 17, 2018.  The court determined that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, commonly called “VBA,” takes precedence over any other Federally established procurement requirements when applied to purchases by the VA.    

The VA Office of Legal Counsel made a determination that the court’s decision and the legislative requirements applies to all VA purchases, including those under the $10,000 micropurchase threshold.

Five weeks remain of the government’s fiscal year and during the final month many purchases using the Government Purchase Card are made. Therefore, if you haven’t already, now is time to make a final marketing push to VA customers and contracting officers.

As a Veteran-owned Small Business ourselves, Coley GCS takes great pride in our ability to assist other Veterans in selling to the VA.  Also, this legal determination opens new doors for Veteran-owned small businesses, let us know if you want our help. You can reach us via email at [email protected] or directly by phone at 210-402-6766.

Supreme Court Upholds Protection For Government Contractors In FOIA Requests

Supreme Court Upholds Protection For Government Contractors In FOIA Requests

Good news for companies receiving FOIA requests for release of information.  The Supreme Court carefully and narrowly defined what information can be deemed “confidential” and thus withheld or redacted from release.

On June 24, in a 6-2-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court strongly upheld the protection of Government contractor’s propriety and confidential information with respect to Freedom of Information Act requests to release such information. Since FOIA requests for proposal information are becoming a standard business practice, this strengthens protections of the incumbent or winning proposal submitter against requests. (more…)

2018 Oasis on-Ramp IDIQ

2018 Oasis on-Ramp IDIQ

OASIS IDIQ Contract Unrestricted on Ramp for 2018 for Pools 2

UPDATE: Pool 6 has closed as of June 2018.

On May 9, 2018, GSA posted a pre-solicitation notice for an on-ramp for the OASIS indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Unrestricted (UNR) 5-year contract for Pools 2, with the final solicitation being published on or about May 31, 2018.   If past history is an indication, the solicitation responses will be due 60 to 90 days from the publication of the final solicitation, with awards following in late winter to spring 2019.

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Introduction to The SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

Introduction to The SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

A Path to Government Contracting

One of the Small Business Administration’s mission is to continuously expand Federal contracting opportunities for Small Business. In 2016, they established the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) to extend SBA approved mentor-protégé relationships to every small business. The program was designed to enhance the capability of the protégé firms to win Federal business utilizing the mentor company’s business development capabilities and substantive project experience. (more…)

Leverage your GSA Schedule for State & Local Government Sales

Leverage your GSA Schedule for State & Local Government Sales

You may not have considered all the ways that you can maximize the value of your GSA Schedule. Use your GSA Schedule contract to win State and Local business.  There are direct and indirect means using your GSA Schedule as the contracting vehicle to sell to State and Local Governments. In the indirect route,  you may use your GSA Schedule contract as the basis to obtain a State or Local contracting vehicle.

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Government Contractors Preparing for the Looming Shutdown

Government Contractors Preparing for the Looming Shutdown

If Congress fails to pass an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution to fund the federal government by midnight January 19, 2018, Federal law mandates a partial government shutdown. Government Shutdowns are nothing new to contractors. As described before on our “What Government Contractors Can Expect During the Shutdown,” (more…)

What Products are Purchased Through BuyBoard?

What Products are Purchased Through BuyBoard?

Athletic, Physical Education Supplies and Equipment
Athletic clothing, shoes and uniforms, fitness equipment, gymnasium seating, scoreboards, washers and dryers

Auction Services (On-Line Only)
On-Line auction services for the disposal of surplus personal property and equipment (more…)

What is the Difference Between TXMAS and BuyBoard?

What is the Difference Between TXMAS and BuyBoard?

Many small businesses looking to grow their State and Local government sales have come to us asking, “Which is better for my business, TXMAS or BuyBoard?” The answer will vary depending on what you are offering, to whom you are trying to sell and when will you be ready to sell it. (more…)

Controversial Bill Aims to Simplify How The Pentagon Buys

Controversial Bill Aims to Simplify How The Pentagon Buys

House Armed Services Committee Proposes DOD “Direct Buy” from Online Commercial Sellers

Industry and government have long been at odds while trying to achieve the same thing—better pricing and faster access. The government increases compliance requirements to ensure best pricing practices and industry increases prices to pay for compliance systems. House Armed Services Committee (HSAC) Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) is addressing the DOD procurement process. (more…)

Responding to Sources Sought Notice or RFIs

Responding to Sources Sought Notice or RFIs

At Coley, we frequently receive questions from our clients on whether they should respond to Sources Sought or Request for Information (RFI) notices. But first, lets look at what each of these are.

Sources Sought Notices vs. Request for RFI

An RFI, or Request for Information, is a Government technique of conducting market research. They may be used when the Government does not presently intend to award a contract, but wants to obtain price, delivery, other market information, or capabilities for planning purposes. (more…)

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