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Insights from Department of Labor Industry Notice No. 187

Has the burden shifted regarding DBA waivers?

Washington, DC, USA - September 10,2017 : Urban cityscape of Washington, United States Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave NW.

On November 22, 2021, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (OWCP) issued Industry Notice No. 187 regarding Defense Base Act (DBA) waivers. In recent years, there has been litigation involving certain DBA claims filed after a DBA waiver had been removed from the DOL active DBA waiver list prior to the end of a contract term.

The DBA provides disability and medical benefits to employees of certain US government contractors who perform work overseas. In some cases, a DBA waiver can expire or be terminated by the DOL prior to the end of a US government contract without any changes to the contract; employers often rely on the terms of such contracts, and in recent years have faced litigation involving DBA claims filed after their waivers have expired or been terminated.

What is an employer to do if a DBA waiver expires or is terminated before a contract can be amended? Read more on our six takeaways for employers from this industry notice.