In the latest federal funding authorization, Congress removed a clause that had prevented the National Park Service and Forest Service from implementing the federal minimum wage regulations in new concession contracts. The clause had been inserted in the 2016 Appropriations Act and stated that no funds were to be used to “implement, administer, or enforce” the regulation recently issued by the Department of Labor in contracts or permits “offering seasonal recreational services or seasonal recreation equipment rental.” That clause was omitted from the most recent appropriations bill passed in May 2017 which provides funding through September 2017.
As a result, the agencies are now free to include provisions in new concession contracts requiring that the federal minimum wage be paid to concession employees. Notwithstanding the language in the 2016 Act, the agencies had continued in some instances to implement the regulations in concession contracts. While there was some confusion over whether Forest Service concessioners had to pay the federal minimum wage due to the language in the prior appropriation statute, it is now clear that all qualifying Forest Service concessioners have to pay that wage. The current federal minimum hourly wage is $10.20.