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    What is the proper procedure for retaining time cards on employment contracts for non personal services? Should a Government employee ever sign time cards for contractors? Non personal services and definitions are understandable, but are there any handbooks that detail contract administration for non personal services? Should a civil servant be allowed to have a contract employee e-mail their arrival / departure 4 times per day?


    Okay, a number of questions in here… First, there is a GREAT handbook that details contract administration for non-personal service contracts (personal service contracts too)!  It is called the DoD COR HDBK and can be found at the following link(s):  www.acc.dau/mil/cor  or
    Let’s start with the fact that the overwhelming majority of service contracts the government enters into are NON-personal service contracts.  We are only allowed to award personal service contracts if it is authorized by statute.  As such, the problem occurs when a contract becomes an improper personal service contract because of the way it is administered.

    I’ll go right to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): 37.104 -- Personal Services Contracts.
    (a) A personal services contract is characterized by the employer-employee relationship it creates between the Government and the contractor’s personnel.  The Government is normally required to obtain its employees by direct hire under competitive appointment or other procedures required by the civil service laws. Obtaining personal services by contract, rather than by direct hire, circumvents those laws unless Congress has specifically authorized acquisition of the services by contract.  FAR 37.104(d) provides additional guidance on whether your contract may be deemed a personal service contract.

    Back to your scenario:  Although we do not have all the details/facts behind what you describe in your question background; it sounds like you possibly could be in an IMPROPER personal service contract situation.  Having government personnel sign contractor employee time cards (as you describe) makes contractor employees appear to be supervised by government employees, which is improper.  You should review Chapter Nine (9), starting on page 93 of the DoD COR HDBK referenced and linked above.
    Additional advice:  We recommend you describe this situation to your contracting officer.  They would want to know this.  More importantly, they may be able explain what the proper procedures should be or that the signing of time cards has been approved (although we cannot think of a scenario where that would be authorized).  Typically we would only view contractor employee time cards if it were part of the data needed to determination the accuracy of a Voucher or Invoice.

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