We have received a number of inquiries from clients related to cost allowability for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). In this Part II, we focus on the cost allowability rules and regulations for government contractors (Part I provided a more general description of ESOPs).
Many small and medium sized companies wonder if having an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is right for their company’s compensation and ownership structure. Studies show that employee-owned companies benefit from higher worker productivity and certain tax advantages which ultimately result in improved cash flow. These and other potential advantages could apply to government contractors; however, if you are considering implementing an ESOP, consider engaging someone (or an entity) familiar with ESOPs, as well as someone familiar with the cost allowability (regulations) and DCAA interpretations.
As we (Redstone Government Consulting, Inc.) began to plan our September 21, 2017 Redstone Edge, we sought out speakers and potential attendees from government agencies, including those from DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) and DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency). In both cases, their potential speakers had a list of questions which seemed to be unnecessary, but related to OGE (Office of Government Ethics) regulations and interpretations, to identify and otherwise prohibit anything which might be an illegal (or at least unethical) gratuity. Although we might not be a “government contractor”, for those who are, there is another regulation in play; FAR 52.203-3 prohibits government contractors from offering gratuities to government employees.
Companies that incur significant costs for training and education of their workforce should have formal policies and procedures in place to ensure reimbursement on their government contracts and subcontracts. As with all types of costs, there are three major components to consider: allowability, allocability and reasonableness.
Wage Determination Fact Finding
In ASBCA Case No. 61040, 61101, Sonoran Technology appeals their claim for an equitable adjustment due to an increase in the Service Contract Act Wage Determination after contract award. The solicitation that controlled this contract award included a SCA wage determination and a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The bidders were required to use the current SCA wage determination (at the time of the bid) in the formulation of their proposals submitted to the Government. For future increases in SCA wages and/or benefits, the FAR and the contract have provisions/clauses which cover a contract price change for a wage determination for a multi-year contract. The issue here whether a new wage determination, incorporated into the contract, prompted a responsibility for the government to adjust the contract price to compensate Sonoran for a corollary increase in its state gross receipts taxes.
The objectives of a timekeeping system are to ensure that labor costs are accurately and timely identified as either direct or indirect in the accounting system. For certain contract types (e.g. cost-type), these accumulated labor costs are reported and billed to the customer. It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the labor costs posted in the timekeeping system are proper and reliable.
Having a well-defined travel policy is important to your employees, managers, accounting staff, contract customers, and auditors. A one-size-fits-all policy may be suitable for some companies, while others may benefit from having multiple policies focused on the business base and/or contract requirements.
Are you prepared for a compliance evaluation from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)? If you’re a government contractor or subcontractor employing at least 50 people and having a contract or subcontract of $50,000 or greater, you need to be. The OFCCP is under the umbrella of the Department of Labor and their goal is to “protect workers, promote diversity and enforce the law.” OFCCP administers the following laws, all of which are specific to government contractors:
Key Performance Indicators are “Measures that help decision makers define and measure progress toward business goals. KPI metrics translate complex measures into a simple indicator that allows decision makers to assess the current situation and act quickly.” – KAIZEN Analytics All businesses, regardless of size, should to be able to understand and identify their Key Performance Indicators. KPIs can be used at all levels of an organization, ranging from the CEO to the project manager. The CEO focuses on the overall performance or health of the company, while the program or project manager may focus on single programs, tasks within a program, or a group of programs.
Although many of us think of contract disputes as those involving a prime contractor and a U.S. Government agency, subcontracts can also trigger differences of subcontract interpretation between the prime and subcontractor. In Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-215, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided a diversity breach of contract case between government contractors (the contractor and subcontractor names are a matter of public record, thus disclosure). Fluor (the subcontractor) contended that they did not agree to a 2.3% cap to their G&A on a proposal effort with the United States Air Force. Their proposal, as a subcontract to their prime contractor, PAE, was ultimately selected for the award, at which time, a subcontract agreement was executed and the two parties began their respective performance on the contract. The specific language of that subcontract agreement is the heart of this case (differentiated from a dispute over the regulatory language contained in a subcontract flow-down).