Ohio University



Stop-work orders under contracts with the Federal government

A “stop-work” order is an instrument issued by the government in order to suspend work under a contract but without terminating the contract. The order will specify a date beyond which the contractor may not perform. In other words, any costs incurred after that date become unallowable, except to the extent that they were in some way unavoidable.

The most important thing to know about a stop-work order is that if an institution receives one, the institution must in turn issue stop-work to subcontractors working under the contract at the time of the stop-work, giving them the same date to stop work. If the institution does not issue orders to subcontractors, the institution will likely still be liable for their expenditures, but will not be reimbursed by the government for any of those costs incurred by the subcontractor after the date specified in the stop-work order.

A stop-work order by default can only last for 90 days before the government must do one of the following:

  • Authorize work to begin
  • Extend the stop-work period
  • Terminate the contract

If the government lifts the stop-work order, the contractor may submit a proposal to the government to request reimbursement for costs incurred as result of the stop-work order (but not during it). For example, if project employees left because of lack of work, there could be costs associated with hiring and training replacements once work has be reauthorized. If the government terminates the contract, then the contractor would submit a termination proposal in accordance with the termination clause.

Stop-work orders under contracts with the private sector

Private sector contracts may have stop work order clauses. It is important to understand the terms and conditions of the agreement before making any decisions about continuing the work on a project where the sponsor has issued a stop work order.

What to do when you receive a stop work order

When you receive a stop work order from the sponsor, immediately forward the SWO to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Service Center ( ORSP@ohio.edu ) or create an ORSP Service Ticket through LEO. The ORSP Sponsored Programs Manager (SPM) will process the stop work order through LEO to Grants Accounting, notifying the PI, Department Chair, Dean, CFAO, and ADR for each College/Center involved. ORSP will subsequently issue stop work orders to all subrecipients.