4/14 Important COVID-19 Measure Updates for Government Contractors

4-14 covid 19 updates

As promised, here are additional resources to support you as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. OST is a member of the GCN Council which is dedicated to advocacy for government contractors. Please, read this post to the end as we are providing important time-sensitive webinar links and information that may be vital to your company. This is in no particular order – just to get you the important information fast, as time is of the essence.

  • Government is doing swift business: the COVID-related spending to date is now at $3.1B (Prime, unclassified, non-DoD). 
  • The class deviation published by DoD on implementing Section 3610 of the CARES Act. Class deviations can be issued when necessary to allow agencies to deviate from the FAR and DFARS. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) also published a memo on this. We expect that OMB will publish something similar for civilian agencies (this is related to what we published last week)
  • DoD released an important memo for contractors: April 9: Class Deviation – CARES Act Section 3610 Implementation: Section 3610 of the CARES Act allows agencies to reimburse, at the minimum applicable contract billing rates (not to exceed an average of 40 hours per week), any paid leave a contractor provides to keep its employees or subcontractors in a ready state, including to protect the life and safety of Government and contractor personnel, during the public health emergency declared for COVID–19 on January 31, 2020, through September 30, 2020. 
  • Here is the Implementation guidance on CARES Act Section 3610: https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/pacc/cc/docs/covid-19/FAQ_Implementation_Guidance_CARES_3610_2020.04.09.pdf
  • Additional OMB guidance was just issued for supplemental funding: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Implementation-Guidance-for-Supplemental-Funding-Provided-in-Response.pdf  
  • Reinstating the prompt payment goal to small businesses, which we were able to get into the FY2020 NDAA. The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) has issued a class deviation on implementing this (effective date April 6) and GSA published a memo for GSA activities (effective date April 10).  
  • There was a question on procurement flexibilities: are the special emergency procurement flexibilities of FAR § 18.202 available for use in addressing requirements connected to COVID-19? 
    • The answer is yes. The President has declared a national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease under the Stafford Act. As a result of this emergency declaration, the flexibilities identified in FAR § 18.202, “Defense or recovery from certain events,” are available for use in supporting response efforts to COVID-19. These flexibilities include increases to the micro-purchase threshold, the simplified acquisition threshold, and the threshold for using simplified procedures for certain commercial items. Specifically: 
  1. The micro-purchase threshold is raised from $10,0001 to $20,000 for domestic purchases and to $30,000 for purchases outside the U.S.
  2. The simplified acquisition threshold is raised from $250,0002 to $750,000 for domestic purchases and $1. 5 million for purchases outside the U.S.
  3. Agencies may use simplified acquisition procedures up to $13 million for purchases of commercial item buys.
  • Please, note: in conducting acquisitions to support response efforts, agencies are expected to use sound fiscal prudence to maximize value for each taxpayer dollar spent. The availability of the flexibility does not mean it must be used, but agencies should feel fully empowered to use the acquisition flexibilities, as needed, consistent with good business judgment in response to the national emergency.
  • The Gov’t Contractors COVID-19 Survival Guide for GCN Council to register for this Wednesday’s GovCon webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6253316658386851339
  • Please, check out this Coronavirus Resource Center put together by one of OST’s partners and another council member: https://www.hubinternational.com/products/risk-services/hub-crisis-resources/coronavirus-resource-center/. It is divided into sections: Business Continuity and Claims, Employee Relations and Benefits, Legal and Regulatory Considerations, Retirement Plans and Market Outlook, Personal Risk and Wealth Management, Webcasts and Virtual Events, Government and Other Resources.
  • Two Upcoming Webinars This Week: Tuesday (today), 4/14 at 2PM ET  Managing the New Norm: Nurturing a Virtual Culture. We’re all in this together, and now more than ever, it’s critical to reinforce how much you value your employees.  This webinar will review best practices for communication, how to foster a productive remote workplace, and technology tools you can leverage to stay connected. Register
  • Thursday, 4/16 at 1PM ET: Cyber Risks: Protecting Your Remote Business. As social distancing reshapes our lives, non-essential businesses have become virtual businesses.  Learn how to protect your company, maintain a secure network and thwart cyber criminals who are actively exploiting the current crisis. Register
  • Finally, the banks are expected to run out of PPP funds by the end of this week. There may be more authorized but we don’t recommend delaying any further. You can’t double-dip on the funds – get your expenses paid by a contract and also charge salaries to the PPP – be judicious in how you use the funds, even though the guidance is not available yet. It may all change retroactively later.

To your success!

The OST Team

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