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The Power of Digital Events

Are you Zoomed or webinar-ed out yet? 
Many people are feeling the Zoom-Gloom as it’s often referred to and for good reason. While there’s a new webinar opportunity (or several) every week it may feel overwhelming to know which to attend and which to avoid. To keep the Zoom-Gloom, and mind-numbing doldrums at bay, we have a few suggestions on how to schedule your digital event attendance.  

  • Only plan to attend one digital event per day and no more than 2-3 per week. 
    We get it, you’re looking for opportunities to see and hear people other than those in your home but attending too many digital events in one week is going to burn you out and tank your productivity. 
  • Get on the ideal mailing lists!
    In your industry, you already know your top 5 companies from which you consume content. Make sure you’re in-the-know when it comes to new releases, opportunities, and digital events by signing up for their e-newsletters. If they don’t have one, or if you prefer to keep it out of your inbox, follow them on their social profiles. Most businesses in our industry are using LinkedIn, Twitter, and possibly Facebook in addition to their email outreach or website blog. 
  • Change the landscape for what to expect. 
    BOOST and govmates have definitely led the charge here when it comes to changing the way the government does digital. From virtual matchmaking opportunities, to institutes, and digital expert panel discussions we do our best to make sure that you’re not attending yet another zoom meeting.  You can be informative and have a personality, digitally. Trust us, we’ve tried it. 
  • Register Ahead of Time
    If the topic is of interest to you but you’re not sure you can 100% commit register anyway. Typically, you’ll get a calendar invite and a reminder the day before and many times (unless there are certification credits involved), there will be an opportunity for a replay. Billable work comes, and goes, at whim these days in the form of calls, online meetings, and coffee chats. If you’re able to hop on last minute you may miss out if you haven’t registered in advance. Worst case, you miss the live interaction but you can catch up on the replay later.  

Now that we’ve discussed attending events, we need to touch on hosting events.  

(As a slight side elbow to those of you reading, BOOST will continue to participate in and host virtual learning and webinar opportunities, so keep an eye on your email.)  

If you’re planning on hosting a digital event (which we do suggest if you’re looking toward growth), here are some things to consider:  

  • Choose a moderator. 
    Having someone to keep speakers on track, pay attention to the chat and questions, as well as facilitate the slides is going to go a long way in the smooth transition of the event overall. 
  • Plan to partner with other companies.
    Two heads, or two communities, are better than one. Including partners and business friends in the planning of your digital events will allow for spirited discussions and a difference in opinions. This provides a healthy variety of content and feels more like a conversation than a presentation (and we know how much we all dreaded college lecture sessions). 
  • Market, Market, Market. 
    Once you plan your event, start marketing right away. Send email invitations to your list as a whole as well as from your leadership to those key individuals in your community that you’d like to attend. Share the registration link on your social media regularly leading up to the event and tag your speakers/partners/moderator as well to increase visibility. Finally, be sure to send a reminder email 24 hours and potentially 1 hour before the start of your event and make sure to follow up with a survey and/or replay link to encourage your position as a resource to your audience.  

We highly recommend our slate of digital events and invite you to take part in our upcoming opportunities as the federal year continues (you can request updates to our digital events here)If you’re thinking of hosting a digital event of your own and don’t know where to start, BOOST now offers done-for-you webinar hosting and facilitation! Connect with our Director of Marketing for more information here 

Hot Tips from the SCA Nuts & Bolts Webinar

Last week Mary Holmes of BOOST LLC and Nichole Atallah of PilieroMazza PLLC educated their webinar audience on SCA Compliance, Sick Time (as it pertains to FAR 52.222-43) and Common Challenges.

While we encourage you to view the webinar in its entirety (which you can do here) we have compiled several of the takeaways for your perusal below.

Who is a ‘Service Employee’?

  • Any person who is actively working in performance of a service pursuant to a contract covered by the SCA (unless they qualify or exemption as bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employees under the FLSA)
  • Independent Contractors* ARE included (including janitorial staff, health staff, security staff, etc.) *Independent Contractors are also required to be paid the SCA prevailing wage and fringe benefits. If you can classify someone as an independent contractor, you may be able to cash out the SCA benefits as long as they are appropriately dispersed to the contractor as expected.

Agency vs. Contracts Responsibility

Agency

Contractor

Determine if SCA applies (DOL has final say) READ everything carefully
Must incorporate FAR 52.222-41 (or 42) Choose the correct labor classification
Everything must be IN the contract Notify all employees and give them documentation of classifications
Area Wide Wage Determinations (WD) must be updated at each change and at least every 2 years Pay at least the required hours, at the appropriate rates and benefits
Do not determine your own WD, use resources like sam.beta.gov or you could risk a price adjustment Maintain records of all hour worked and all pay records

 

Health & Welfare

  • Paid in addition to wages listed in the Wage Determination
  • Could be paid either as cash or as bona fide benefits at the employer’s discretion
  • Must be listed separately on pay records
  • Applies to both Part-Time and Full-Time employees
  • DOL increases H&W annually, however, employees are not entitled to an automatic increase unless there is a revision to the contract (but the contractor is entitled to a price adjustment)

 

Sick Leave

  • Applies to employees performing on or in connection with a contract governed by the Executive Order whose wages are governed by the SCA, DBA, or Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Accrued as follows: 1 hour per every 30 hours worked in connection with the contract
  • Contractors can provide 7 days of paid sick leave at the beginning of the accrual year instead of based on hours worked
  • Not required to pay out accrued unused sick leave at the time of job separation
  • Sick leave can not count against H&W benefits

 

You can get more detail, as well as information on vacation and holidays, leave, bidding a CBA Wage Determination, DOL enforcement, Price Adjustments, and more in the full presentation.

If you’d like to have a more in-depth conversation regarding your specific needs as they pertain to bidding and working on contracts within the SCA umbrella, let’s schedule a chat. The professionals at BOOST provide knowledgeable insight into the most unique government contracting situations.

 

 

Navigating Complexities | The CARES Act and 3610 Guidance for the Intelligence Community

Guidance for the Intelligence Community is always changing. Yet currently those changes seem to be in hyper-drive. Luckily, we have experts like Amy Hernandez at BOOST LLC and partners like Pete Ragone from the SC&H Group to help us navigate these waters.

In an information-packed hour-long virtual discussion, Amy and Pete walked attendees through the top questions (and answers) they’ve received regarding this spring’s pressing changes as they pertain to the Intelligence Community. Below, you’ll find some of what they discussed. For the full discussion, please visit the webinar replay here.

Where do we stand in regard to PPP/Tax Credits vs. Class Deviation 3610?
Questions and dilemmas abound. Amy & Pete advised clients in the intel space that they may be able to invoice regarding lost time. Many contractors wanted to apply both the PPP Loan and the Class Deviation 3610. Yet, the CARES Act  did not fill the gap of March 13th-March 27th (as of May 28th) when many contractors were suddenly not able to work at their assigned location in support of Government programs.  Unfortunately, you are unable to invoice under 3610 and take the PPP loan or tax credit. It’s one or the other. If you take the tax credit or PPP, you won’t get 3610. But stay tuned, this could be modified as updated guidance related to the CARES Act is released in the coming weeks.


What key guidance has come out relating to 3610?
Key guidance posted on May 18th includes an overarching implementation guidance and checklist (with instructions). The guidance references that contractors can be reimbursed at their bill rates, which include profit. However, companies have to certify costs without profit for reimbursement.  When seeking reimbursement, contractors are effectively having to disclose profit to the government and primes. Those without cost-plus contracts may not have fully-FAR-31-compliant cost accounting systems (which best practice says you should). In the long run, this may change the landscape for the IC in billing and proposals going forward due to the fact that 3610 is only reimbursing costs for 2020. The worry is that in the next option year negotiations may be adversely affected, given that companies invoicing under 3610 have now informed customers/primes what their profit is on individual labor rates.

What are the cost accounting implications of invoicing under 3610?
If you’re having to track costs by contract, you need to make sure you have a separate time charge/leave code for COVID Leave or however you’re tracking work changes due to the pandemic. Most banks are sending PPP funds to a separate account, to assist with tracking as everything needs to be specifically tagged in regard to these funds. If you’re able to invoice under 3610, leave recorded as fringe costs do not stay as fringe, they need to be reclassified as direct labor once invoiced. We repeat, once you invoice it is no longer fringe, but a direct cost under that contract. Those costs can only be billed under that contract, by FAR definition it becomes a direct cost. When calculating your indirect cost rates, ensure that COVID costs invoiced under 3610 are removed from the fringe pool. (Check out the video for some of the more in-the-weeds, guidance for your chart of accounts.)

What are potential future contracting implications once things return to “normal”?
Depending on the funding of certain programs, there may be more limited additional 3610 availability. They will be funded but increases to contract funding will need to be priced out and supported. Short term, the government will continue with current spending habits as the debt ceiling raises. In the long term, there may be some tightening of funding on the horizon. Be prepared for a higher likelihood of justification for pricing going forward. To prepare, document, document, document. This exercise requires businesses to have elements of a compliant accounting system.

Action Items:

  • Have a good, clean accounting system.
  • Determine your financial health by contract and your business as a whole when deciding which funding/opportunities to take.

If you find yourself looking for additional guidance, a resource for implementing compliant accounting systems, or other questions regarding the most up-to-date released guidance, let’s connect. Our BOOST experts can get the information you need or connect you with our smart partners, like Pete, who have a breadth of knowledge in these areas.

Return to Work Plan: Not Business as Usual. (Webinar Replay)

On Tuesday, June 9th, BOOST’s CEO Stephanie Alexander moderated a digital panel discussing the transition of many businesses back to the workplace. As such, there are a number of important questions that employers need to be answered including:

  • What new legal requirements do employers need to consider?
  • What policies and procedures do employers need to implement before their employees step back into the workplace?
  • What do employers have to do versus what should they be doing?

In this discussion, we heard from Nichole Atallah and Sarah Nash of PilieroMazza PLLC and Mary Holmes of BOOST LLC.

You can catch the full replay here: