On December 20, 2018, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was amended to clarify the FAR’s prohibition on assessing employees with recruitment fees in connection with federal contracts. The rule provides a final definition of “recruitment fees” and clarifies the FAR’s broad prohibition on federal contractors or subcontractors assessing employees or potential employees with any such fees.
The final rule brings long-awaited clarity to the scope of the prohibition on recruitment fees, as the term has not previously been defined in anti-trafficking regulations. Upon publication of a proposed rule change in January 2015, the FAR Council invited the public to comment on a draft definition of the term “recruitment fees” in a notice-and-comment process. The final rule, which took effect on January 22, 2019, incorporates a definition that has been revised pursuant to comments received during that rulemaking process. Government contractors will need to take these new rules into account in their compliance efforts in connection with their supply chains.
On January 29, 2015, DoD, GSA, and NASA issued a final rule amending the FAR to strengthen and enhance the human trafficking-related prohibitions applicable to all federal contracts. The final rule implemented Executive Order (E.O.) 13627, “Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts,” and Title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, entitled “Ending Trafficking in Government Contracting.” The amended FAR, which applied to all future contracts and orders under existing indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contracts, imposed significant responsibilities on federal contractors and subcontractors to prevent human trafficking and forced labor.
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