COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE
The coronavirus has significant implications for the Postal Service, its workforce, and its suppliers. The Postal Service has been issuing letters that contractors can provide local authorities stating that your workers perform essential functions and should be allowed to continue to work. Two such letters are shown on this webpage.
If you are unable to continue performance because you or your worker is ill, quarantined, or sent home by the Post Office for being ill, and you do not have or cannot find a substitute, you should immediately notify the contacting officer and the Administrative Officer. An example of such a notice letter is provided on this webpage, which you should adapt to your situation.
If USPS cancels a trip that you were ready, willing, and able to perform, you are still entitled to receive the full contract price unless your contract sets out a lower price for cancelled trips. Some contracts do have such a clause, and that clause typically states that you are entitled to 50% pay for USPS cancelled trips.
Most USPS contracts contain Clause B-19, entitled “Excusable Delays.” This clause excuses performance failures due to Acts of God, epidemics, and quarantine restrictions. Performance failures arising from COVID-19 would come within all three of these events (though only one is needed) and thus be excusable. While this clause does not address whether you are entitled to payment when excusable events occur, USPS has a history of continuing to pay at the contract price when such events occur.
Another key clause is Clause B-64, entitled “Accountability of the Supplier.” This clause requires that the supplier be “easily accessible” in the event of emergencies and service interruptions. In addition, it relieves the contractor from performance failures that arise out of circumstances beyond its control and without its fault or negligence.
Some contractors are being asked to perform additional work that is not part of their contract. In such case, you should notify the contracting officer that you have been asked to perform additional work and that you will be seeking additional compensation for the added cost of performing it and a time extension to the schedule. You should also state that you presume the contracting officer is aware you are performing this additional work, but if the CO was not aware or does not authorize your performance of the additional work, please advise so that you may immediately discontinue it.
No matter what your contract says, the parties can always negotiate and mutually agree to other terms. With respect to the coronavirus, there are strong public policy reasons for USPS to continue to make full payment to contractors, particularly if the contractor agrees to continue to pay any worker who is unable to continue to work due to the virus.