New Federal Contractor Affirmative Action Regulations
The Office of Federal Compliance Contract Program’s (OFCCP) final federal contractor affirmative action regulations, which are designed to enhance job opportunities for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, become effective March 24, 2014. These regulations were published August 27, 2013 and set a hiring target of 7% percent for these two groups. In addition, the final rules will require employers to distribute voluntary self-identification forms to job seekers at both the pre-offer and post-offer stages. Employers must also distribute the voluntary self-identification form to all current employees during the first year the rule applies and then at least every 5 years moving forward. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has indicated that no violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act will occur due to the pre-offer distribution of this form.
OFCCP’s goals for the new regulations are to reduce “barriers to equal employment opportunity for individuals with disabilities, and income inequality and poverty.” Similarly, its goals in amending the regulations pertaining to veterans are to create a “positive impact on the wages and employment prospects of many veterans” and to “level the playing field for veterans who are entitled to a fair shot at applying for, obtaining, and keeping good jobs with federal contractors.”
Contractors will be required to amend their affirmative action plans to reflect new requirements, including but not limited to the following; 1) Development of job training opportunities and recruitment, 2) evaluate the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts on an annual basis, 3) disseminate their affirmative action plans to employees or applicants upon request and include their affirmative action policy in their employee handbook, 4) invite applicants to self-identify, as outlined above, 5) conduct self-assessments and audits of their personnel practices to determine effectiveness of their programs, and 6) maintain employment data for a period of at least 3 years.
Contractors with an affirmative action plan already in place will have until the beginning of the next plan year to make changes. However, those who have no plan as yet will need to comply by the March 24, 2014 date. Additionally, it is important to note that the regulations clearly require contractors to allow OFCCP access to any records they deem relevant to a compliance review or investigation of a complaint.
The new self-identification form may be found at the following:
Further information is available on the U.S. Department of Labor site:
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