Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses – April 2021 #3

PilieroMazza PLLCLITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Return to Work: Employer-Mandated COVID Vaccination Policies and Accommodating Employee Disabilities and Religious Beliefs, April 23, 2021, Matthew Kreiser
With over 50% of the adult population in the United States having received at least one dose of a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID), many businesses and employers are looking forward to a “return to normal” and their employees coming back to the workplace. One common consideration is whether an employer should implement mandatory COVID vaccination requirements as part of their return-to-work policies. Employers must be mindful of ensuring that their return-to-work policies, including any vaccination mandates, comply with any federal or state regulations governing vaccinations and / or discrimination in the workplace. Read more here.

States Prolong COVID-19 Liability Shields as Pandemic Persists
Bloomberg Law reported that several states are extending the expiration dates on laws that shielded businesses, healthcare providers, and other entities from lawsuits related to COVID-19 exposure, injuries, or death. Read more here.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

OHA Upholds SBA Denial of Admission to 8(a) Program for Failure to Demonstrate Status as Recognized Indian Tribe, April 21, 2021, Meghan Leemon
In a noteworthy decision this February, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) upheld SBA’s determination denying GTEC Industries, Inc. entry into the 8(a) Business Development Program as a tribally owned entity. For businesses seeking 8(a) program certification, this decision highlights the importance of demonstrating eligibility by a preponderance of the evidence. Read more here.

10 Questions to Ask for a Successful Government Contractor Change of Name Submission, April 20, 2021, Timothy Valley
Government contractor name changes, whether through a standard name change or through a restructuring, present unique regulatory hurdles. One such challenge is the preparation, submission, and execution of a change of name package with the U.S. government. While the change of name package itself is a hurdle, there are additional factors that impact its success. Below are ten questions government contractors should ask, which can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful change of name. Read more here.

Treasury Department to Provide Additional Information on Tribal SSBCI
Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which provides $500 million to be allocated among federally recognized Tribal governments, the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) can determine the proportions under which the funding will be allocated and will consider available employment and economic data for each Tribal government. The funding will be used by Tribes to support financing for small businesses. The deadline for submitting a Notice of Intent to apply for this State Small Business Credit Initiative Program (SSBCI) for Tribes is June 11, 2021, and applications for the SSBCI Program are due to the Treasury by December 11, 2021.

To help facilitate a better understanding of the SSBCI Program for Tribes, the Treasury will host an information session on May 13, 2021, at 2:00 PM ET. Tribal leaders and stakeholders can register here.

IRS Guidance on Business Expense Deductions
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a revenue procedure that allows businesses with forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to retroactively deduct regular business expenses. Read more here.

SBA Launches Supplemental Targeted Advance for Small Businesses Hardest Hit by COVID-19
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the launch of a new round of Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance—called Supplemental Targeted Advances—that will provide $5 billion in additional assistance to 1 million small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been most severely affected by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

SBA Reopens Shuttered Venue Operators Grants for Applications
The Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal on April 24, 2021, which can be used by operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums, and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers, and talent representatives to apply for economic relief. Read more here.

SBA Announces Official Restaurant Revitalization Fund Application and Guidelines
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced key details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for its $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Read more here.

New Design Launched for beta.SAM.gov
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced an updated look and feel to beta.SAM.gov. The new user experience includes a new homepage, changes to beta.SAM.gov’s help pages, and changes to beta.SAM.gov’s search function. For more on the new design, GSA has provided a Before and After Video and a Before and After Guide. Read more here.

DHS Issues Solicitation for $10B FirstSource III IT Contract
GovConWire reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a solicitation for the potential 10-year, $10 billion FirstSource III contract for information technology hardware, software, value-added reseller, and IT managed services. FirstSource III is a multiple-award, indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity contract and a total small business set-aside with five set-aside tracks for 8(a), HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned, women-owned, and all small businesses. Read more here.

Upcoming MAS Refresh and Mass Modification
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it is planning to issue Refresh #6 with Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Solicitation 47QSMD20R0001 and a mass modification to all existing contracts in May 2021. The GSA Federal Acquisition Service will issue a bilateral modification to apply the changes to existing MAS contracts. Contractors will have 90 days to accept the mass modification. Read more here.

OMB Announces IT Modernization Priorities
Federal News Network reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced four areas of focus to support federal technology modernization. The areas OMB plans to focus on are:

  • modernizing websites and services including utilizing digital signatures to its fullest extent by using already existing Memorandums M-19-17 and M-00-15;
  • digitizing forms and government services;
  • electronic consent and access to individual’s records; and
  • interoperability of data to benefit public-facing services by using tools like application programming interfaces.

Read more here.

FedRAMP Incident Communications Procedures Update
The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) updated its Incident Communications Procedures document. The document provides step-by-step guidance on roles and responsibilities of FedRAMP stakeholders and the appropriate timeframes for reporting information concerning security incidents. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: FUN with the FAR: Parts 19 & 26, Small Business Methods and Other Socioeconomic Programs, May 5, 2021, Cy Alba. Read more here.

WEBINAR: SBIR Contracting – Information for Primes and Subs, May 10, 2021, Cy Alba and Anna Wright. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Joint Ventures and Facility Security Clearances, May 18, 2021, Cy Alba. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Using OTAs as an Acquisition Mechanism in Defense Contracts: Benefits and Pitfalls, May 18, 2021, Jackie Unger. Read more here.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Rescue Plan Update: The State of FFCRA and Other State COVID-19 Paid Leave, April 16, 2021, Nichole Atallah, Sarah Nash, and Sara Nasseri
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, providing an estimated $1.9 trillion in stimulus to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the various relief provisions are updates to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave requirements. While there is no mandate for employers to continue providing FFCRA leave, an employer who chooses to do so can still take the associated tax credits for an additional period of time, subject to certain provisions. Read more here.

OSHA Tells Employers When to Record Adverse Vaccine Reactions
Bloomberg Law reported that new guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) dictates that employers who require workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations must record adverse reactions in the workplace illness logs. If an employer recommends that employees receive COVID-19 vaccines, then adverse reactions to the vaccines may be recordable. OSHA issued the guidance in the form of answers to three frequently asked questions. Read more here.

IRS Provides Guidance for Employers Claiming the Employee Retention Credit
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance for employers claiming the Employee Retention Credit under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act modified by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020. It explains changes to the Employee Retention Credit for the first two calendar quarters of 2021, including:

  • the increase in the maximum credit amount;
  • the expansion of the category of employers that may be eligible to claim the credit;
  • modifications to the gross receipts test;
  • revisions to the definition of qualified wages; and
  • new restrictions on the ability of eligible employers to request an advance payment of the credit.

Read more here.

Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations

WEBINAR: FUN with the FAR: FAR Parts 22 & 23, Application of Labor Laws to Government Acquisitions, May 19, 2021, Nichole Atallah. Read more here.

WEBINAR: DFARS Part 222: Application of Labor Laws to Government Acquisitions, May 19, 2021, Sarah Nash. Read more here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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