Employee Rights on Federal Government Contracts

Employee Rights on Federal Government Contracts

Many employers seek government contracts. They can be lucrative and can provide long-term and ongoing work. That benefits the company and employees like you.

However, some companies operate in less than ideal conditions and may try to avoid granting employees certain benefits and rights they’re entitled to under federal government contracts. If you’re working for an employer who has federal government contracts and they’re violating some of your rights, you have legal options available to you.

Federal Government Contracts Employee Rights Breakdown

Before we get too far, we’re going to provide a brief overview of the rights you are entitled to under two major types of government contracts: Service Contract Act (SCA) and Public Contracts Act (PCA). Employee rights on these federal government contracts include:

  • Minimum wage. You must be paid no less than the federal minimum wage unless a higher rate is required under the SCA.
  • Fringe benefits. PCA contracts do not include fringe benefits, but SCA contracts do. Under the SCA, you may be entitled to fringe benefit payments or a cash equivalent.
  • Overtime pay. For every hour you work over 40 in one week, you must be paid 1.5 times your regular rate of pay.
  • Safety and health conditions. Your employer must ensure your work is performed under sanitary conditions that are not hazardous or dangerous to your health or safety.

To enforce any violations of these rights, you’ll need to contact the Department of Labor (DOL). They’re the federal agency responsible for enforcing these laws. Besides the above protections, you’re also protected in other ways that some federal workers are not. 

Employment Discrimination

Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal government contractors like your employer from discriminating against a person in any employment decision. This includes hiring, firing, promotion, raise, or any other act typically taken by an employer. They cannot take any adverse employment action based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. 

Employers on government contracts are also prohibited from discriminating against a person based on any disability they may have. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that employers take affirmative action to recruit, employ, train, and promote qualified workers with disabilities. This includes disabled veterans. 

Sick Leave

Historically, employees working on a federal government contract have not been provided sick leave. However, in 2016, the DOL established sick leave for federal contractors. Employers on a federal government contract must provide covered employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. Workers may use this sick leave for themselves or to care of immediate family members. 

Pay Transparency

Related to discrimination in the workplace is pay transparency. Many states, including California, have begun pushing pay transparency laws. The laws require employers to make public salary ranges for each position they employ. Studies have found this to be a vital component for job candidates and employees to negotiate equal pay, especially for minorities. 

In 2014, Executive Order 13665 eliminated federal contractor pay secrecy, creating pay transparency in all federal government contracts. The DOL issued a final rulemaking order effective in 2016. 

The order protects employees like you who work for federal contractors by enabling pay transparency requirements. Your employer cannot prevent you and your colleagues from discussing your pay with one another, whether at work or on your personal time. There’s one caveat here: if you’re an employee with access to payroll data, you cannot disclose other employees’ pay, only your own.

What’s the benefit of allowing workers to discuss pay with one another? It ensures that workers with similar experience doing similar work make similar pay. If your employer is restricting your conversations with your colleagues about your pay, they may be trying to hide the fact that they’re paying employees very differently.

Your employer could also be violating pay transparency requirements by failing to post a notice. They’re required to let you know that they cannot prevent you from discussing your pay.

Contact a San Diego Federal Contract Employment Lawyer Today

If you have questions about whether your employer is violating your employee rights on federal government contracts, you need a trusted and experienced legal advocate ready to help you protect your rights. A San Diego federal contract employment lawyer can discuss your situation with you, determine whether your employer has or is currently violating any rights you have under federal government contracts, and help you take appropriate action.

Contact Ferraro Vega today to discuss your legal rights and options.