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10 Tips for Federal Contractors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 1 Apr 2020 4:03 PM
    Message # 8872931
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    10 Tips for Federal Contractors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    As COVID-19 continues to impact the global supply chain and labor and employment markets, government contractors must be prepared for the possibility that their performance may be interrupted.  Here are ten tips for federal contractors during the pandemic:

    • 1.      Contractors should engage in frequent communication with their government counterparts to discuss expectations and protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic and should document all correspondence.  The contracting officer or the program manager are great points of contact.  Remember that the CO has authority and flexibility to make adjustments to contract performance requirements. 
    • 2.      Contractors should consider asking whether the government has an emergency preparedness plan (usually on an agency-specific basis), and if so, if it’s able to share that plan with the contractor.  Contractors should also ask how the government plans to communicate emergency information to contractors and subcontractors in order to stay abreast of any changes.
    1. Contractors should take inventory of their contracts and employees on those contracts and develop an action plan to meet contract demands as well as safety concerns for its employees.
    • 4.      Contractors should review their contracts for performance delay clauses.  Most government contracts will contain FAR 52.249-14 or an equivalent clause providing for excusable delays in circumstances that are outside the contractor’s fault or negligence, such as a pandemic.  If your contract does not include an excusable delay provision, you should consult the contracting officer. (It is important to note that the government still reserves the right to terminate the contract, but not for default.)
    • 5.      Contractors may want to look at whether employees on impacted contracts could be reassigned or be asked to take paid vacation or overdue training.
    • 6.      Contractors should consider the implications of production or shipping delays on its ability to comply with delivery requirements.  If COVID-19 may delay the availability of parts from China or other severely affected areas, consider identifying alternative sources of supply.
    • 7.      Contractors should carefully document any and all increased costs or delays attributable to COVID-19, as these may be recoverable down the road.
    • 8.      Contractors should ensure labor and employment policies are in place to address sick leave, avoidance of nonessential travel, essential personnel or personnel working on classified contracts and cannot telework, and any other internal employment policies. Remind employees of cybersecurity obligations if you have personnel working from home.
    • 9.      The Government may suspend or stop performance on your contract to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Contractors should look to FAR 52.242-14 Suspension of Work and FAR 52.242-15 Stop-Work Order for contractor rights and obligations with respect to these orders.
    • 10.  For contractors unable to perform due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s payment obligations will depend on the type of contract (i.e. firm-fixed price, time and materials, etc.).  Contractors should review their contracts to determine the government’s payment obligation. 

    If in doubt on any provisions of your contract, feel free to contact us at the Federal Practice Group by calling 202-862-4360.

    Victoria Eatherton is an Associate with the Federal Practice Group and her practice area is focused on government contracts and civil litigation.

     


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