A proposed change in the government's procurement rules would let federal contractors offer bonuses to attract high-tech workers. The amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) would explicitly allow contractors to offer signing and retention bonuses to employees with critical technical skills-such as scientists and engineers in the software and systems integration fields. While the FAR doesn't prohibit such incentives, the amendment would make clearthat such bonuses are legal. The amendment was proposed by the Civilian Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council. "Due to the tight labor market, companies doing business with the government often must provide recruitment and retention bonuses to compete with predominantly non-government firms," reads the proposed amendment
in the Federal Register. The Defense Department has stepped up efforts to monitor how federal acquisition policies have affected major defense contractors over the past year. In January, Jacques Gansler, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics called on the Defense Science Board to review how the Pentagon's procurement policies affect the competitiveness of U.S. defense companies. The General Services Administration will receive comments on the proposed amendment until Feb. 26.