Trump Rescinds Controversial “Fair Pay Safe Workplaces” Regulations
On March 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a Congressional Review Act resolution permanently rescinding the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” regulations, dubbed the “blacklisting rule” by opponents, that imposed reporting requirements on federal contractors to disclose labor violations. President Obama first introduced the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules by Executive Orders 13673 and 13683 in 2014. See Smith Pachter Client Update here.
The House of Representatives passed a joint resolution of disapproval to rescind the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules on February 2, 2017, by a margin of nearly 50 votes. The Senate followed suit, approving a similar joint resolution by a 49-48 vote on March 6, 2017. Both resolutions were passed pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to rescind regulations by passing legislation. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules are unlikely to get revived, because the Congressional Review Act prohibits promulgating substantially similar acts.
President Trump’s signature makes permanent a preliminary injunction issued by the Eastern District of Texas in October 2016 that blocked implementation of certain Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces provisions. See Smith Pachter Client Update here. Paycheck transparency provisions of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces that were not affected by the preliminary injunction took effect on January 1, 2017. See Smith Pachter Client Update here.
The joint resolutions and presidential signature nullify the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules in their entirety, as if the Executive Orders and implementing regulations were never issued. Contractors must still abide by existing Department of Labor regulations, but do not have new obligations to report labor violations or to include additional details on paychecks. Nonetheless, some contractors may have encountered solicitations that included FAR clause 52.222-60 “Paycheck Transparency (Executive Order 13673)” during the interim period. Our firm is available to assess solicitation materials and contracts containing the clause to provide guidance on removing those provisions.