29 CFR § 2201.8 - Fees for copying, searching, and review.
(a) Fees required unless waived. The FOIA Disclosure Officer shall charge fees in accordance with the Uniform Freedom of Information Fee Schedule and Guidelines published by the Office of Management and Budget and in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. See appendix A to this part. If the fees for a request are less than the threshold amount as provided in OSHRC's fee schedule, no fees shall be charged. The FOIA Disclosure Officer shall, however, waive the fees in the circumstances stated in § 2201.9.
(b) Calculation of fees. Fees for copying, searching and reviewing will be based on the direct costs of these services, including the average hourly salary (base plus DC locality payment), plus 16 percent for benefits, of the following three categories of employees involved in responding to FOIA requests: Clerical - based on an average of all employees at GS-9 and below; professional - based on an average of all employees at GS-10 through GS-14; and managerial - based on an average of all employees at GS-15 and above. OSHRC will calculate a schedule of fees based on these direct costs. The schedule of fees under this section appears in appendix A to this part. A copy of the schedule of fees may also be obtained at no charge from the FOIA Disclosure Officer. See § 2201.3(d).
(1) Copying fee. The fee per copy of each page shall be calculated in accordance with the per-page amount established in OSHRC's fee schedule. See appendix A to this part. For other forms of duplication, direct costs of producing the copy, including operator time, shall be calculated and assessed. Copying fees shall not be charged for the first 100 pages of copies unless the copies are requested for a commercial use. No copying fee shall be charged for educational, scientific, or news media requests if the agency fails to comply with any time limit in § 2201.6, provided that no unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined in §§ 2201.6(b) and 2201.4(d), respectively) apply to the processing of the request.
(2) Search fee. Search fees shall be calculated in accordance with the amounts established in OSHRC's fee schedule. See appendix A to this part. Commercial requesters shall be charged for all search time, except as described below. Search fees shall be charged even if the responsive documents are not located or if they are located but withheld on the basis of an exemption. However, search fees shall be limited or not charged as follows:
(i) Easily identifiable decisions. Search fees shall not be charged for searching for decisions that the requester identifies by name and date, or by docket number, or that are otherwise easily identifiable.
(ii) Educational, scientific or news media requests. No fee shall be charged if the request is not for a commercial use and is by an educational or scientific institution, whose purpose is scholarly or scientific research, or by a representative of the news media.
(iii) Other non-commercial requests. No fee shall be charged for the first two hours of searching if the request is not for a commercial use and is not by an educational or scientific institution, or a representative of the news media.
(iv) Requests for records about self. No fee shall be charged to search for records filed in the Commission's systems of records if the requester is the subject of the requested records. See the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(5) (fees to be charged only for copying).
(v) Failure to comply with time limits. No search fee shall be charged if the Commission fails to comply with any time limit in § 2201.6, provided that no unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined in §§ 2201.6(b) and2201.4(d), respectively) apply to the processing of the request.
(3) Unusual circumstances.
(i) If the Commission has determined that unusual circumstances, as defined in § 2201.6(b), apply and has provided timely written notice to the requester, a failure to comply with the time limit shall be excused for an additional 10 days and the Commission shall assess fees as usual.
(ii) If the Commission has determined that unusual circumstances, as defined in § 2201.6(b), apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, the Commission may charge search fees, or, in the case of requesters described in § 2201.8(b)(2)(ii), may charge duplication fees, if the Commission provided timely written notice of unusual circumstances to the requester in accordance with § 2201.6(b) and the Commission discussed with the requester via written mail, email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request in accordance with the FOIA. If this exception is satisfied, the Commission may charge all applicable fees incurred in the processing of the request even if such processing extends beyond an additional 10 days.
(4) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist, as defined in § 2201.4(d), a failure to comply with the time limits shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order.
(5) Review fee. A review fee shall be charged only for commercial requests. Review fees shall be calculated in accordance with the amounts established in OSHRC's schedule of fees. See appendix A to this part. A review fee shall be charged for the initial examination of documents located in response to a request to determine if it may be withheld from disclosure, and for the excision of withholdable portions. However, a review fee shall not be charged for review by the Chairman under § 2201.10 (Appeal of denials).
(c) Invoices. The FOIA Disclosure Officer shall provide the requester with an invoice containing an itemization of assessed fees.
(d) Aggregation of requests. When the FOIA Disclosure Officer reasonably believes that a requester, or a group of requesters acting in concert, is attempting to break a request into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the FOIA Disclosure Officer may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly.
(e) Fees likely to exceed $25. If the total fee charges are likely to exceed $25, the FOIA Disclosure Officer shall notify the requester of the estimated amount of the charges, unless the requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees up to the estimated amount. The notification shall offer the requester an opportunity to confer with the FOIA Disclosure Officer to reformulate the request to meet the requester's needs at a lower cost. In cases in which a requester has been notified that actual or estimated fees amount to more than $25, the time period for responding to the request shall be tolled in accordance with § 2201.6(a)(2) and further work shall not be done on it until the requester agrees to pay the actual or estimated total fee. Any such agreement shall be memorialized in writing.
(f) Advance payments. Advance payment of fees will generally not be required. If, however, charges are likely to exceed $250, the FOIA Disclosure Officer shall notify the requester of the likely cost and: if the requester has a history of prompt payment of FOIA charges, obtain satisfactory assurance of full payment; or if the requester has no history of payment, require an advance payment of an amount up to the full estimated charge. If the requester has previously failed to pay a fee within 30 days of the date of billing, the FOIA Disclosure Officer shall require the requester to pay the full amount owed plus any interest owed as provided in paragraph (h) of this section or demonstrate that he or she has, in fact, paid the fee, and to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated charges before the FOIA Disclosure Officer begins to process the new request or a pending request from that requester.
(g) Fees for services not required by the Freedom of Information Act. The Commission has discretion regarding its response to requests for services not required by the FOIA. For example, the FOIA does not require agencies to certify or authenticate responsive documents, nor does it require responsive documents to be sent by express mail. If these services are requested, the FOIA Disclosure Officer shall assess the direct costs of such services.
(h) Interest on unpaid bills. The Commission's Office of the Executive Director shall begin assessing interest charges on unpaid bills starting on the thirty-first day after the date the bill was sent. Interest will accrue from the date of billing until the Commission receives full payment. Interest will be at the rate described in 31 U.S.C. 3717.
(i) Debt collection procedures. If bills are unpaid 60 days after the mailing of a written notice to the requester, the Commission's Office of the Executive Director may resort to the debt collection procedures set out in the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.
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