Biden-Harris Administration will make federal procurement more economical and efficient by ensuring a stable, skilled, and experienced workforce for service contracts, even when contracts change hands
Today, the President signed an Executive Order to ensure there will be a reliable supply of experienced and skilled employees working on federal service contracts. Service work supporting federal government functions occurs all over the country, from federal building maintenance to services provided on military bases to skilled technicians operating and maintaining federal equipment. Under this newly signed Executive Order, when a federal service contract transitions from one contractor to another, the new contractor will be required to offer jobs to qualified employees who worked for the previous contractor and performed their jobs well. This prevents disruptions in federal services, makes it easier for employers to find workers who are already trained for the job, and saves taxpayer dollars.
This Executive Order is just one of many steps the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to improve the efficiency of federal procurement and make sure taxpayer dollars are used to strengthen good-quality, union jobs in America. Earlier this year, the President fulfilled his commitments to strengthen Buy American rules and to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour. This Executive Order will support service sector workers and the work they do for the American people. The Executive Order builds on a policy set in E.O. 13495 during the Obama-Biden Administration.
The Executive Order will benefit taxpayers, contractors and service contract workers by:
- Making federal procurement more efficient by reducing worker turnover. The Executive Order extends the right of first refusal to qualified workers when a service contract changes hands and the jobs on the new contract are similar. Turnover can be costly. It takes time to advertise and hire new workers for a job. It also takes time and money for workers to be trained for a new job and to learn the particular ways in which that job is performed for the federal government. Maintaining the existing workforce reduces the disruption in the delivery of services during the period of transition between contractors and maintains physical and information security. It also ensures that taxpayer-funded services benefit from an experienced workforce that is already familiar with federal facilities, personnel and other requirements of the job. Finally, this Order will provide firms that secure new federal contracts with a ready, skilled pool of workers.
- Keeping skilled workers in their jobs. There are about 2 million service contract workers, covering a range of jobs and responsibilities – from maintenance on military bases to call centers to transportation to research and development. They contribute in important ways to important federal functions. Sustaining a quality pool of workers amounts to good and careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Service contract workers are also disproportionately women and workers of color. For example, the building services industry is 41 percent Hispanic or Latino, 13 percent Black or African American, and 56 percent women. The security services industry is 26 percent Black or African American, 18 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 23 percent women. By creating job continuity for this pool of workers, the Administration is also advancing its equity goals. This Executive Order will also remove the requirement that the new contract remain in the same location in order for the job continuity policy to take effect. This change in policy updates the Administration’s approach to account for the flexible nature of service sector work in today’s economy.