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Rule

Federal Acquisition Regulation; Telecommuting for Federal Contractors

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed to convert the interim rule published in the Federal Register at 69 FR 59701, October 5, 2004, to a final rule without change. The final rule amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 1428 of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003, Title XIV of Public Law 108-136, Authorization of Telecommuting for Federal Contractors.

DATES:

Effective Date: June 8, 2005.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The FAR Secretariat at (202) 501-4755 for information pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Mr. Gerald Zaffos, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 208-6091. Please cite FAC 2005-04, FAR case 2003-025.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

An interim rule implementing Section 1428 of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (Title XIV of Public Law 108-136) was published in the Federal Register on October 5, 2004 (69 FR 59701). Five comments were received from four respondents in response to the interim rule. While all of the commenters were supportive of the rule, the commenters offered the following recommendations to maximize the use of telecommuting for Federal contractors. One commenter suggested that the Councils provide an incentive for “suppliers who take the initiative to hire telecommuting contractors.” The Councils did not adopt this suggestion because the statute does not establish incentives, and the Councils believe establishing such an incentive is beyond the scope and authority of the Councils. Another commenter believes that the rule does not go far enough because it allows the contracting officer to determine that allowing telecommuting would be contrary to the agency's requirements. The commenter believes that Government managers who are uncomfortable with the concept of telecommuting will convince contracting officers to disallow telecommuting more often than allow it. To prevent this, the commenter recommended that “telecommuting be established as a ‘requirement’ for some percentage of government contracts and that telecommuting be defined as working offsite for 25 or more hours a week.” This commenter also recommended that contracting officers who award contracts to firms that allow their employees to telecommute receive additional training, funds, “and a leg up on promotion.” The Councils did not adopt this recommendation because there is no evidence that contracting officers will not act in good faith when making a determination not to allow Start Printed Page 33657telecommuting. Moreover, the requirement for a written determination will allow agencies to conduct periodic reviews as may be necessary to ensure there is no abuse of this discretion. Also, issues of contracting officer rewards are personnel issues that are beyond the scope of this case and the general purview of the Councils. Another commenter recommended creating a vetting procedure for determinations to prohibit telecommuting and to hold contracting officers' “feet to the fire.” The Councils did not adopt this recommendation because compliance issues are beyond the scope of this case and are more appropriately addressed by individual agency management.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because there is no Governmentwide policy or practice concerning contractor employee telecommuting. In addition, this rule will not be a major change, but instead a small positive benefit to small businesses.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 7, 11, 13, and 15

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Dated: May 27, 2005.

Julia B. Wise,

Director, Contract Policy Division.

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Interim Rule Adopted as Final Without Change

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Accordingly, the interim rule amending

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[FR Doc. 05-11181 Filed 6-7-05; 8:45 am]

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