48 CFR § 19.705-7 - Liquidated damages.
(a) Maximum practicable utilization of small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business and women-owned small business concerns as subcontractors in Government contracts is a matter of national interest with both social and economic benefits. When a contractor fails to make a good faith effort to comply with a subcontracting plan, these objectives are not achieved, and 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(F) directs that liquidated damages shall be paid by the contractor.
(b) The amount of damages attributable to the contractor's failure to comply shall be an amount equal to the actual dollar amount by which the contractor failed to achieve each subcontracting goal.
(c) If, at completion of the basic contract or any option, or in the case of a commercial plan, at the close of the fiscal year for which the plan is applicable, a contractor has failed to meet its subcontracting goals, the contracting officer shall review all available information for an indication that the contractor has not made a good faith effort to comply with the plan. If no such indication is found, the contracting officer shall document the file accordingly. If the contracting officer decides in accordance with paragraph (d) of this subsection that the contractor failed to make a good faith effort to comply with its subcontracting plan, the contracting officer shall give the contractor written notice specifying the failure, advising the contractor of the possibility that the contractor may have to pay to the Government liquidated damages, and providing a period of 15 working days (or longer period as necessary) within which to respond. The notice shall give the contractor an opportunity to demonstrate what good faith efforts have been made before the contracting officer issues the final decision, and shall further state that failure of the contractor to respond may be taken as an admission that no valid explanation exists.
(d) In determining whether a contractor failed to make a good faith effort to comply with its subcontracting plan, a contracting officer must look to the totality of the contractor's actions, consistent with the information and assurances provided in its plan. The fact that the contractor failed to meet its subcontracting goals does not, in and of itself, constitute a failure to make a good faith effort. For example, notwithstanding a contractor's diligent effort to identify and solicit offers from small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business and women-owned small business concerns, factors such as unavailability of anticipated sources or unreasonable prices may frustrate achievement of the contractor's goals. However, when considered in the context of the contractor's total effort in accordance with its plan, the following, though not all inclusive, may be considered as indicators of a failure to make a good faith effort: a failure to attempt to identify, contact, solicit, or consider for contract award small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business or women-owned small business concerns; a failure to designate and maintain a company official to administer the subcontracting program and monitor and enforce compliance with the plan; a failure to submit the ISR, or the SSR, using the eSRS, or as provided in agency regulations; a failure to maintain records or otherwise demonstrate procedures adopted to comply with the plan; or the adoption of company policies or procedures that have as their objectives the frustration of the objectives of the plan.
(e) If, after consideration of all the pertinent data, the contracting officer finds that the contractor failed to make a good faith effort to comply with its subcontracting plan, the contracting officer shall issue a final decision to the contractor to that effect and require the payment of liquidated damages in an amount stated. The contracting officer's final decision shall state that the contractor has the right to appeal under the clause in the contract entitled Disputes.
(1) Perform the functions of the contracting officer under this subsection on behalf of all agencies with contracts covered by the commercial plan;
(2) Determine whether or not the goals in the commercial plan were achieved and, if they were not achieved, review all available information for an indication that the contractor has not made a good faith effort to comply with the plan, and document the results of the review;
(3) If a determination is made to assess liquidated damages, in order to calculate and assess the amount of damages, the contracting officer shall ask the contractor to provide -
(i) Contract numbers for the Government contracts subject to the plan;
(ii) The total Government sales during the contractor's fiscal year; and
(iii) The amount of payments made under the Government contracts subject to that plan that contributed to the contractor's total sales during the contractor's fiscal year; and
(4) When appropriate, assess liquidated damages on the Government's behalf, based on the pro rata share of subcontracting attributable to the Government contracts. For example: The contractor's total actual sales were $50 million and its actual subcontracting was $20 million. The Government's total payments under contracts subject to the plan contributing to the contractor's total sales were $5 million, which accounted for 10 percent of the contractor's total sales. Therefore, the pro rata share of subcontracting attributable to the Government contracts would be 10 percent of $20 million, or $2 million. To continue the example, if the contractor failed to achieve its small business goal by 1 percent, the liquidated damages would be calculated as 1 percent of $2 million, or $20,000. The contracting officer shall make similar calculations for each category of small business where the contractor failed to achieve its goal and the sum of the dollars for all of the categories equals the amount of the liquidated damages to be assessed. A copy of the contracting officer's final decision assessing liquidated damages shall be provided to other contracting officers with contracts subject to the commercial plan.
(g) Liquidated damages shall be in addition to any other remedies that the Government may have.
(h) Every contracting officer with a contract that is subject to a commercial plan shall include in the contract file a copy of the approved plan and a copy of the final decision assessing liquidating damages, if applicable.