HR Should Budget Money For New Fed Contractor Veterans and Disability Requirements.

The new regulations for disabled individuals and veterans posted by the OFCCP yesterday afternoon dramatically change the requirements for federal contractors—at least 25% of the employers in the US—so this will be huge. 

Federal contractors will be required to ask applicants about disability status—both pre-hire and then again post-hire—and resurvey the workforce every 5 years. 

They must maintain records and will have a goal that 7% of each job group be disabled.  The EEOC has signed off on the pre-hire disability inquiry.  Similar benchmarking and statistical analysis will be required for veterans as well. Previously, the Affirmative action Plans required for these two statutes were largely boilerplate, but they will now require  statistical analysis similar to the EO 11246 plans.  Practitioners at the recent NILG Conference advised HR to request budget increases of 25-40% to cover the additional work required.

 The new regulations will be effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur within 2 weeks.

 Fisher & Phillips has an active OFCCP Practice Group to assist clients with navigating these new regulations.  They will shortly be preparing FAQs for employers.

I trust this F & P Group and they expect the new regs to really cost some money and cause some cursing.  So be advised.

The official announcement, with links, is below.

 Earlier today, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that represent an historic advance for veterans and individuals with disabilities.  By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure and keep good jobs.

 For the first time, these rules provide metrics — management tools that inform decision-making and provide real accountability — to measure federal contractors’ progress toward achieving equal opportunity for people with disabilities and protected veterans. 

  • The VEVRAA 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.
  • The Section 503 rule establishes an aspirational 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities.

The rules will also facilitate the success of companies that do business with the federal government, by increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers. 

The need for these rules is clear – unemployment for certain veterans and persons with disabilities is disproportionately high. 

  • Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have given so much to serve their country, should be able to find employment – yet the annual unemployment rate for post-September 2001 veterans is higher than the rates for all veterans and for nonveterans.
  • The unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities in 2012 was 15%, compared with a rate of 8% for working age individuals without disabilities.  This substantial disparity persists despite years of technological advances that have made it possible for many people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs. 

Being a federal contractor is a privilege — one that comes with the reasonable expectation to abide by the law and provide equal employment opportunity to all workers.  Today’s new rules make those expectations clearer and more meaningful. 

The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later.   You can read the Final 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/

There you can also find other information about the new rules.

OFCCP will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote opportunity and access for millions of workers across thousands of workplaces as the new rules are implemented.  Introductory webinars will be held this week (with repeats in September) to provide overviews of the key points of the rules.  You can register for these webinars below.

We look forward to spreading this good news, and encourage you to share it through your communication channels as well.

*******************

OFCCP Webinars on the VEVRAA Final Rule – PLEASE CHOOSE ONE

OFCCP Webinars on the Section 503 Final Rule – PLEASE CHOOSE ONE

September 18, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) – http://www.dol.gov/find/section503-2

About mavity2012

I am a Senior Partner operating out of the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, one of the Nation’s oldest and largest management employment and labor firms. My practice is national and keeps me on the road or in one of our 28 offices about 50 percent of the time. I created and co-chair the Firm's Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group. I have almost 29 years of experience as a labor lawyer, but rely even more heavily on the experience I gained in working in my family's various businesses, and through dealing with practical client issues. Employers tell me that they seldom meet an attorney who delivers on his promise to provide practical guidance and to be a business partner. As a result, some executives probably use different terms than “practical” to describe my fellow travelers in the profession. I don't enjoy the luxury of being impractical because I spend much of my time on shop floors and construction sites dealing with safety, union and related issues which are driven by real world processes and the need to protect and get the most out of one's most important business assets ... its employees. That's one of the reasons that I view safety compliance as a way to also manage problem employees, reduce litigation and develop the type of work environment that makes unions unnecessary. Starting out dealing with union-management challenges and a stint in the NLRB have better equipped me to see the interrelationship of legal and workplace factors. I am proud also of my experience at Fisher & Phillips, where providing “practical advice” is second only to legal excellence among the Firm’s values. Our website lists me as having provided counsel for over 225 occasions of union activity, guided unionized companies, and as having managed approximately 450 OSHA fatality cases in construction and general industry, ranging from dust explosions to building collapses, in virtually every state. I have coordinated complex inspections involving multi-employer sites, corporate-wide compliance, and issues involving criminal referral. As a full labor lawyer, I oversee audits of corporate labor, HR, and safety compliance. I have responded to virtually every type of day-to-day workplace inquiry, and have handled cases before the EEOC, OFCCP, NLRB, and numerous other state and federal agencies. At F & P, all of us seek to spot issues and then rely upon attorneys in the Firm who concentrate on those areas. No tunnel vision. I teach or speak around 50 times per year to business associations, bar and professional groups, and to individual businesses. I serve on safety committees at three states’ AGC Chapters, teach at the AGC ASMTC
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One Response to HR Should Budget Money For New Fed Contractor Veterans and Disability Requirements.

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