29 CFR § 4.10 - Substantial variance proceedings under section 4(c) of the Act.

§ 4.10 Substantial variance proceedings under section 4(c) of the Act.

(a) Statutory provision. Under section 4(c) of the Act, and under corresponding wage determinations made as provided in section 2(a)(1) and (2) of the Act, contractors and sub contractors performing contracts subject to the Act generally are obliged to pay to service employees employed on the contract work wages and fringe benefits not less than those to which they would have been entitled under a collective bargaining agreement if they were employed on like work under a predecessor contract in the same locality. (See §§ 4.1b, 4.3, 4.6(d)(2).) Section 4(c) of the Act provides, however, that “such obligations shall not apply if the Secretary finds after a hearing in accordance with regulations adopted by the Secretary that such wages and fringe benefits are substantially at variance with those which prevail for services of a character similar in the locality”.

(b) Prerequisites for hearing. (1)(i) A request for a hearing under this section may be made by the contracting agency or other person affected or interested, including contractors or prospective contractors and associations of contractors, representatives of employees, and other interested Governmental agencies. Such a request shall be submitted in writing to the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210, and shall include the following:

(A) The number of any wage determination at issue, the name of the contracting agency whose contract is involved, and a brief description of the services to be performed under the contract;

(B) A statement regarding the status of the procurement and any estimated procurement dates, such as bid opening, contract award, commencement date of the contract or its follow-up option period;

(C) A statement of the applicant's case, setting forth in detail the reasons why the applicant believes that a substantial variance exists with respect to some or all of the wages and/or fringe benefits, attaching available data concerning wages and/or fringe benefits prevailing in the locality;

(D) Names and addresses (to the extent known) of interested parties.

(ii) If the information in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section is not submitted with the request, the Administrator may deny the request or request supplementary information, at his/her discretion. No particular form is prescribed for submission of a request under this section.

(2) The Administrator will respond to the party requesting a hearing within 30 days after receipt, granting or denying the request or advising that additional time is necessary for a decision. No hearing will be provided pursuant to this section and section 4(c) of the Act unless the Administrator determines from information available or submitted with a request for such a hearing that there may be a substantial variance between some or all of the wage rates and/or fringe benefits provided for in a collective bargaining agreement to which the service employees would otherwise be entitled by virtue of the provisions of section 4(c) of the Act, and those which prevail for services of a character similar in the locality.

(3) Pursuant to section 4(b) of the Act, requests for a hearing shall not be considered unless received as specified below, except in those situations where the Administrator determines that extraordinary circumstances exist:

(i) For advertised contracts, prior to ten days before the award of the contract;

(ii) For negotiated contracts and for contracts with provisions extending the initial term by option, prior to the commencement date of the contract or the follow-up option period, as the case may be.

(c) Referral to the Chief Administrative Law Judge. When the Administrator determines from the information available or submitted with a request for a hearing that there may be a substantial variance, the Administrator on his/her own motion or on application of any interested person will by order refer the issue to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, for designation of an Administrative Law Judge who shall conduct such a fact finding hearing as may be necessary to render a decision solely on the issue of whether the wages and/or fringe benefits contained in the collective bargaining agreement which was the basis for the wage determination at issue are substantially at variance with those which prevail for services of a character similar in the locality. However, in situations where there is also a question as to whether the collective bargaining agreement was reached as a result of “arm's-length negotiations” (see § 4.11), the referral shall include both issues for resolution in one proceeding. No authority is delegated under this section to hear and/or decide any other issues pertaining to the Service Contract Act. As provided in section 4(a) of the Act, the provisions of section 4 and 5 of the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (41 U.S.C. 38, 39) shall be applicable to such proceeding, which shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth at 29 CFR part 6.

(d) The Administrator shall be an interested party and shall have the opportunity to participate in the proceeding to the degree he/she considers appropriate.

[48 FR 49762, Oct. 27, 1983, as amended at 82 FR 2225, Jan. 9, 2017]

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