Government Contracts FAR Final Rule Adds Further Protections for Contractor Employees
Monday, January 21, 2019

FAR Final Rule Adds Further Protections for Contractor Employees

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council have issued Federal Acquisition Circular 2019-01, which contains one final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Combating Trafficking in Persons—Definition of “Recruitment Fees” (FAR Case 2015-017). This final rule amends the FAR to provide a definition of “recruitment fees” to further implement policy on combating trafficking in persons. According to the rule, one element in combating trafficking in persons is to prohibit contractors from charging employees recruitment fees. The rule clarifies the prohibition on the charging of recruitment fees set forth in FAR Subpart 22.17 and the clause at FAR 52.222-50, Combating Trafficking in Persons. Prior to the rule, the government prohibited contractors from charging their employees recruitment fees, but the prohibition did not prevent contractors from charging fees for recruitment services. It simply precluded those fees from being charged to prospective or actual employees on government contracts or subcontracts. Amended FAR 22.1702 and FAR 52.222-50 define “recruitment fees” as “fees of any type, including charges, costs, assessments, or other financial obligations, that are associated with the recruiting process, regardless of the time, manner, or location of imposition or collection of the fee.” These regulations also provide a list of examples of prohibited recruitment fees regardless of the method of payment. Further, the rule makes a corresponding technical change to the policy regulation at FAR 22.1703, and amends the clauses at FAR 52.212-5, FAR 52.213-4, and FAR 52.244-6. The rule’s discussion and analysis section provides a summary of significant changes the final rule made to the proposed rule (¶70,006.314). For ease of reading and clarification, the final rule restructures the wording and paragraphs in the definition. In addition, the rule adds several illustrative examples to the definition, and the second paragraph of the definition clarifies that a recruitment fee is still a recruitment fee regardless of whether collected by an employee or a third party, whether licensed or unlicensed, including labor brokers.

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