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6/24/2014 - Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

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June 24, 2014

VIA E-MAIL

The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
Secretary, Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

The Honorable Dr. David Weil
Administrator, Wage and Hour Division
Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Re: Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
 

Dear Secretary Perez and Administrator Weil:

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration respectfully requests that the Department of Labor (DOL) extend the comment period for the proposed rule, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors.[1] This rule, which implements Executive Order 13658,[2] increases the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors, subcontractors and their workers to $10.10 per hour, beginning January 1, 2015. 
 

The Office of Advocacy

Congress established Advocacy under Pub. L. 94-305 to represent the views of small entities before Federal agencies and Congress. Advocacy is an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); as such the views expressed by Advocacy do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the Administration. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), gives small entities a voice in the Federal rulemaking process. For all rules that are expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, Federal agencies are required by the RFA to assess the impact of the proposed rule on small business and to consider less burdensome alternatives.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 requires agencies to give every appropriate consideration to comments provided by Advocacy.   The agency must include, in any explanation or discussion accompanying the final rule’s publication in the Federal Register, the agency’s response to these written comments submitted by Advocacy on the proposed rule, unless the agency certifies that the public interest is not served by doing so.

Request for an Extension of the Comment Period

In this proposed rule, DOL has completed an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), because this rule may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.  DOL states that there are over 300,000 small federal contractors who may be impacted by this rule.[3]   DOL’s IRFA specifically asks for small business data and feedback on a wide variety of topics.[4]  Advocacy is concerned that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for small businesses to provide such data or meaningful comments within the 30 days provided in this rulemaking. 

On April 23, 2014, Advocacy and DOL held a listening session on Executive Order 13658.  Small federal contractors and subcontractors enumerated many concerns regarding the compliance costs and possible consequences of this initiative.  Advocacy also received requests from small businesses that the comment period be extended.   

Given these issues and the significant public interest in the outcome of this proceeding Advocacy respectfully requests that DOL extend the public comment period for at least another 30 days.  For additional information or assistance please contact me or Janis Reyes at (202) 619-0312 or Janis.Reyes@sba.gov.                             

Sincerely,

Winslow Sargeant, Ph.D.
Chief Counsel for Advocacy

Janis C. Reyes
Assistant Chief Counsel
 

Copy to:          The Honorable Howard Shelanski, Administrator, Office of Information and  Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget


[1] Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors, Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, 79 Fed. Reg. 34568 (June 17, 2014).

[2] Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors (79 Fed. Reg. 9851) (February 20, 2014).

[3] 79 Fed. Reg. at 34602-34604.

[4] Id. For example, DOL asks for “feedback on the factors and assumptions used in this analysis, such as data sources, small business industries, NAICS codes, size standards, the number of affected employees, annual costs as a percent of receipts...and number of Federal small subcontractors.”   DOL’s IRFA only estimates the costs for the increase in the hourly minimum wage for workers.  However, the analysis “also seeks information about the potential compliance costs…such as the proposed rule’s impact on management and human resources costs, impacts on staffing, and any compliance costs that may not have been included in this analysis.”