PSC seeks extension of paid leave reimbursement

A second major trade association representing government contractors has lent its voice to the call for additional help in managing costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent to congressional leaders Wednesday, Professional Services Council CEO David Berteau said contractors need an extension on one section of the CARES Act economic stimulus legislation signed in April that allows agencies to reimburse companies for paid leave if employees cannot get to their designated work sites.

The intention is to keep employees in a “ready state” while companies get sick or paid leave covered by agencies. Section 3610 of the CARES Act is slated to expire Sept. 30 and Berteau is calling for lawmakers to extend that authority until Dec. 31 or whenever the ongoing public health emergency expires. President Trump declared COVID-19 as a national emergency on March 13.

“When the CARES Act was enacted on March 27, 2020, there was no clear estimation or understanding of the duration or magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on federal government operations and on the many thousands of contractors whose support is vital to those operations,” Berteau wrote. “Today, it is apparent that such impact will clearly extend beyond September 30, and it is not possible to predict how long such authority will be needed.”

Berteau’s letter is addressed to the same group of top lawmakers that the Aerospace Industries Association and around 80 executives from that group’s companies sent a letter of their own to earlier this week.

In various communications to government leaders, PSC and AIA have indicated that Section 3610 was crucial for companies to keep their employees on payroll and especially those in programs requiring highly-skilled and high-level security clearances.

“Section 3610 applies to all federal agencies, and each such agency can use its authority to address their specific needs,” Berteau wrote. “Implementation issues have arisen, including incomplete, inconsistent, and untimely guidance from federal agencies and the possible need for additional funding.”

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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