Number:        116-10    
Date:             December 26, 2019

President Signs S. 1790,
“National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2020”

On December 20, 2019, the President signed S.1790, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA), which became Public Law 116-92. The Senate passed the bill on December 17, 2019 in a recorded vote of 86-8. The bill previously passed the House with an amendment on December 11, 2019 by voice vote, 377-48. The law includes several significant personnel provisions – most notably granting 12 weeks of paid parental leave and restricting agencies from requesting criminal history information before extending a conditional offer of employment – as well as a number of changes to general contracting authorities and procedures.

The following are provisions of interest to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unless otherwise noted, provisions are effective upon enactment.

Section 818. Documentation of Market Research Related to Commercial Item Determinations

  • Requires agencies to document market research used in determining whether to acquire commercial products and services in a manner appropriate to the size and complexity of the acquisition.

Section 824. Extension of Sunset Relating to Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative

  • Extends the sunset date of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2022.

Section 826. Uniformity in Application of Micro-purchase Threshold

Section 870. Requirements Relating to Credit for Certain Small Business Concern Subcontractors

  • Requires agencies to collect and report data on the extent to which prime contractors meet the goals and objectives set forth in subcontracting plans and periodically review data to ensure good faith compliance.

Section 893. Modification to Requirements for Purchase of Commercial Leasing Services Pursuant to Multiple Award Contracts

  • Establishes an exemption for individual purchases for commercial leasing services made on a no cost basis under a multiple award contract.
  • This provision would sunset on December 31, 2025.

Section 1110. Designating Certain FEHBP and FEGLI Services Provided by Federal Employees as Excepted Services under the Anti-Deficiency Act

  • Deems enrollment in, or changes to, a health benefit plan or services under a life insurance plan as exceptions to services limited under the Anti-Deficiency Act.

Section 1111. Continuing Supplemental Dental and Vision Benefits and Long-Term Care Insurance Coverage during a Government Shutdown

  • Continues coverage of supplemental dental, vision, and long-term care plans for employees furloughed or working without pay due to a lapse in appropriations.
  • Prohibits cancelation of supplemental dental, vision, and long-term care coverage due to nonpayment of premiums or periodic charges due to funding lapse. 

Section 1114. Reimbursement for Federal, State, and Local Income Taxes Incurred During Travel, Transportation, and Relocation

  • Removes storage costs from items that are reimbursable during relocation.
  • Replaces the term “employee” with “individual” for the purposes of reimbursement.
  • These provisions have a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2018.

Section 1115. Clarification of Limitation on Expedited Hiring Authority for Post-Secondary Students

  • Requires that an agency’s expedited hiring authority for post-secondary students in a fiscal year not exceed 15 percent of such students appointed the previous fiscal year to GS-11 level positions, or below.

Section 1117. Extension of Authority for Part-Time Reemployment

  • Extends, until December 31, 2024, the authority of agencies to reemploy retired employees under limited conditions, without offset of annuity against salary.

Section 1122. Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Fair Chance Act)

  • Limitations on Requests for Criminal History Record Information

    • An employee or employing office may not request that an applicant for an appointment to a position in the civil service disclose their criminal history record information before extending a conditional offer to the applicant, unless otherwise required by law required by law.

  • Prohibition on Criminal History Inquiries by Contractors Prior to Conditional Offer

    • Agencies may not require an individual or sole proprietor who submits a bid for a contract to disclose criminal history record information before determining the apparent awardee.

    • As a condition of receiving a Federal contract and receiving payments under such contract, executive agencies shall require that a contractor may not request the disclosure of criminal history record information regarding an applicant for a position related to work under such contract before the contractor extends a conditional offer to the applicant, unless otherwise required by law.
  • The Fair Chance Act becomes effective two years after the date of enactment.

Section 7602. Paid Parental Leave under Title 5 (Federal Employee Paid Leave Act)

  • An employee may use 12 administrative workweeks of paid parental leave in connection with a birth or placement in addition to any accrued or accumulated annual or sick leave.
  • An employee is not required to first use all or any portion of other accrued leave before being allowed to use paid parental leave.
  • Paid parental leave shall:

    • be payable from any appropriation or fund available for salaries or expenses for positions;

    • not be considered to be annual or vacation leave; and

    • not accumulate for subsequent use if not used by the employee before the end of the 12-month period.

  • Employees must complete at least 12 months of service before the birth or placement to be eligible for paid parental leave.
  • Before the commencement of parental leave, an employee must agree, in writing, to return to the agency upon completion of the leave and work 12 weeks. An employee is excepted from this requirement if unable to return to work because of the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition (including mental health), related to the applicable birth or placement of a child, or of the employee. The agency may require the employee to provide certification, in a timely manner, supporting such claim by a health care provider.
  • If an employee fails to return from paid leave, the employing agency may recover from such employee an amount equal to the total amount paid by the agency for maintaining such employee’s health coverage during the leave period. An employee is excepted from this requirement if unable to return to work due to the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition (including mental health), related to the applicable birth or placement of a child, of the employee or the child or any other circumstance beyond the control of the employee.
  • The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act is effective with respect to any birth or placement occurring after October 1, 2020.