If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, you’re (hopefully) very familiar with Affirmative Action compliance and reporting. In addition to those requirements, last week the OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs – part of the Department of Labor) announced two new rules for federal contractors regarding the hiring of veterans and individuals with disabilities. While these haven’t yet been formally put into effect, they appear to be imminent and should go into effect 180 days after they are published in the Federal Register. These rules are summarized below and additional detail can be found on the DOL website.
Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) – Final Rule
This rule requires contractors to establish an annual hiring benchmark, either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%), or based on the best available data and factors unique to their establishments. Federal contractors must then demonstrate that their hiring efforts are trending toward these benchmarks.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act – Final Rule
This rule also establishes an annual hiring benchmark, based on a 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities. Federal contractors (as with VEVRAA) must then demonstrate that their hiring efforts are trending toward these benchmarks.
According to figures used to help craft these new regulations, unemployment for both of these classes of workers is disproportionately high, compared to the nation at large. Unemployment for veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is higher than the rate for all veterans and non-veterans, while the national unemployment rate for people (of employment age) with disabilities is 15%. In contrast, unemployment nationally is around 8%.
The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later. If you’d like more information in the interim, you may access both rules on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/ and http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.
The stated goal of both programs is “to put a greater emphasis on measuring federal contractors’ progress toward achieving equal opportunity for people with disabilities and protected veterans.”
However, what this also means to federal contractors is additional tracking and reporting of this data for compliance purposes. While these rules are being finalized and the reporting requirements aren’t yet completely clear, this is something that ExactHire will continue to explore as it relates to applicant tracking software. As a result, we’ll keep you posted in the next few weeks with additional information on what this means to you, and (for our clients) what changes will be made in our solution to assist in those compliance efforts.