The HUBZone contracting program, while well-intended to provide economic and employment opportunities in otherwise low income, high unemployment areas, must nonetheless connect HUBZone firms with government contracts, the overwhelming majority of which are not located within a HUBZone.
If HUBZone firms are to experience growth, they will need to utilize the local labor force in the area where the contract is to be performed, in addition to utilizing the labor force residing in their HUBZone to perform indirect labor functions. As a company’s direct labor force grows, their indirect labor will also grow, producing more employment opportunities within the HUBZone, thereby fulfilling an intent of the program.
In order for an employee to count as a HUBZone resident for purposes of a specific HUBZone contract, the employee must reside in an officially designated HUBZone on the contract award date.
A recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is a cautionary tale for HUBZone companies, which are responsible for ensuring that the 35% employee residency requirement is met on the award date.
The SBA will not aggregate a HUBZone applicant’s employees with the employees of the applicant’s affiliates for purposes of determining compliance with the “35% rule,” but only if the SBA determines that there is a “clear line of fracture” between the HUBZone applicant and its affiliates.
A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims highlights an important SBA policy, which isn’t codified in the SBA’s regulations but can have a tremendous impact on HUBZone Program eligibility.
A small business and its owner have agreed to pay $250,000 to resolve HUBZone fraud allegations, including a claim that the company’s HUBZone office was a “virtual” location where no employees actually worked.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Air Ideal, Inc. and its majority owner have also agreed to pay the government five percent of the company’s gross revenues over the next five years.
The SBA has proposed major changes to rules governing joint venturing for set-aside contracts.
As part of a proposed rule released last week, the SBA proposes to eliminate so-called “populated” joint ventures, and proposes additional changes regarding joint venture certifications, performance of work reports, and more.