The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are urging the use of a provision in recent Federal stimulus legislation which enables Federal contractors to be paid if they cannot telework or report to work due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows agencies to reimburse contractors for keeping their employees in a “ready state” when those contractor employees cannot report to an approved work site or telework. The guidance from DoD says a “ready state” means being “able to mobilize in a timely manner.”
ODNI called the provision “a powerful tool to use in the protection of our valuable partners in the federal contractor workforce.” It said in a statement that the Intelligence Community (IC) is “working closely together to implement this important new flexibility.”
“ODNI strongly encourages IC agencies to make full use of the flexibility provided by this act . . . to enable contract personnel to stay home in a ‘ready state’ during the national effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The office released a set of guiding principles to implement the provision. One principle is that the contractors will be reimbursed “at the minimum applicable contract billing rate.” The authority of the provision is scheduled to expire September 30, 2020, the last day of the current fiscal year.