The HUBZone program implemented a new policy effective March 4, 2022, to help ensure that HUBZone firms are providing meaningful employment opportunities for residents of HUBZone areas. The HUBZone program will now require job descriptions for all HUBZone residents who are working less than 30 hours per week. Therefore, all HUBZone program applicants must submit a job description for each HUBZone resident who is working for the firm for less than 30 hours per week.
For currently certified HUBZone firms, effective on the date of the notice, firms subject to a program examination may be required to submit job descriptions for any HUBZone resident working less than 30 hours per week.
In general, to meet this requirement, job descriptions will need to address, at a minimum:
· The job titles
· The individual’s duties and responsibilities
· The expected work product
· The general job schedules
SBA will interpret the failure to submit a job description as an indication that an individual is not performing meaningful work for the firm, and the individual will not be considered an employee for HUBZone program purposes. Applicants that do not meet the 35% HUBZone residency requirement due to failure to submit the required documentation will be deemed ineligible to participate in the HUBZone Program, and their application will either be withdrawn or declined. Certified HUBZone small businesses that are found to not meet the 35% HUBZone residency requirement due to failure to submit the required documentation will be deemed ineligible to participate in the HUBZone Program and proposed for decertification.
Covid Telework Flexibility – The telework flexibility expired on March 31, 2022. HUBZone certified firms are among the many businesses across the US that are bringing employees back to their place of business. The HUBZone Program was designed to stimulate economic activity in distressed communities—and generate greater economic impact for the community.
What this means for your firm:
For firms that did not utilize the flexibility, there is no change. At the time of the firm’s annual recertification, an authorized representative of the firm must attest that the firm met the principal office requirement on the anniversary of the firm’s HUBZone certification.
Firms that did utilize the telework flexibility, after March 31, 2022, you will no longer be able to leverage this flexibility. Any firm with a certification anniversary date on or after April 1, 2022, must attest to meeting the principal office requirement on the anniversary of the firm’s HUBZone certification. This means that when determining a firm’s principal office, SBA will consider any employees teleworking on or after April 1, 2022, to work from their telework location rather than from the principal office.
Firms that apply for HUBZone certification after March 31, 2022, must meet the principal office requirement at the time of application.
- Shared working spaces – In June 2021, SBA updated its guidance for firms operating in shared workspaces to provide certain information to prove their eligibility. Please see the supporting document checklist or the FAQs for a detailed list of documents required to meet the principal office requirement.
- Updated FAQs – The HUBZone Program has updated the FAQs available on the HUBZone webpage to provide clarifications about the new requirement for firms to provide job descriptions. The updated FAQs are available at HUBZone Program Improvements: FAQs (sba.gov).
- Updated Supporting Documents Checklist – The HUBZone Supporting Document Checklist, which describes the documents that must be submitted by an applicant to the HUBZone Program, was updated to include the documents required to be submitted by firms operating from shared workspaces and by firms affected by the new Policy Notice (discussed above) requiring job descriptions for certain HUBZone residents. The new and improved checklist is available at HUBZone Supporting Documents Checklist (sba.gov).
HUBZone Digital Icon
In 2021, SBA authorized the use of digital icons for small businesses participating in SBA’s small business contracting programs. Certified HUBZone firms appearing as such in SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search database may use the HUBZone icon on business websites, business cards, and social media profiles, as well as on capability statements and proposal bids. However, the icon may not be used to express or imply endorsement by SBA of any goods, services, entities, or individuals. Therefore, the icon may not be used on company letterhead, marketing materials, or advertising (including but not limited to paid ads and public service announcements) in either digital or traditional media formats.
Firms should no longer be using the prior (yellow and black) HUBZone logo on their materials at all. To download the zip file containing the current digital HUBZone icon, go to SBA-certified contractors | SBA Brand Guide (ussba.github.io) and click “Download Icons”.
Continuing Eligibility Reminders and Helpful Hints
- Annual Recertification: As a reminder, all firms are required to re-certify annually by attesting that they comply with the requirements of the program on their certification anniversary date. For more information, see Continuing Eligibility for the HUBZone Program: How Does Annual Recertification Work? (sba.gov).
- Program Examinations: All HUBZone firms will undergo a program examination at least once every three years, during which you will be required to provide evidence of your eligibility as of your anniversary date. For more information, see Continuing Eligibility for the HUBZone Program: How Do Program Examinations Work? (sba.gov).
Exciting Opportunities for HUBZone Firms
- Governor-designated Covered Areas – Virginia became the 3rd state, following Illinois and Colorado, to leverage SBA’s new authority to approve petitions for “Governor-designated Covered Areas,” adding HUBZone designation to two census tracts in Campbell County, Virginia.
- Opening up more contracting opportunities for small businesses – Did you know that HUBZone certified firms were awarded more than $13 billion in federal contracts in FY20? Recently, SBA’s Office of Government Contracting helped to level the playing field for all contracting entrepreneurs by advocating for a more equitable and transparent federal procurement system and buying strategy, working in collaboration with the White House and Office of Management and Budget. The new policies, including counting small businesses in Tier 2 under category management and holding senior executives accountable for meeting small business contracting goals, will make it easier for more than 30,000 small businesses — especially those certified as HUBZone, 8(a), WOSB, and SDVOBs — to supply their products and services to the Federal Government and contribute to a robust and competitive U.S. supply chain.
- New Proposed Size Standards for NAICS—SBA published four final rules to modify monetary-based size standards across 16 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors. These changes will increase small business eligibility for SBA’s loan and federal contracting programs for approximately 59,000 additional firms. The new size standards will become effective on May 2, 2022.
The press release is available at the following link:
SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program can help your small business obtain first-time bonding or higher bonding levels. SBA’s 90% guarantee for 8(a), HUBZone, MBE, SDVOB and VOBs helps these underserved businesses obtain bonding capacity with about half the capital normally required by surety companies. Prepare today so you can compete for federal and other contracting opportunities including upcoming opportunities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Learn how SBA’s bond guarantee on projects up to $10 million can help your small business grow by contacting an SBA authorized bond agent today. SBA Authorized Bond Agents
Source: HUBZoneContractors National Council