The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued its long-awaited revision of the rules covering nondiscrimination and affirmative action for individuals with disabilities, under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and protected veterans, under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act.
In response to strong concern expressed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and other employer organizations, the agency eliminated many significant and burdensome paperwork requirements and modified others that were originally proposed. Even though the OFCCP moderated some of the day-to-day implementation requirements, federal contractors will still face challenges in meeting the new hiring goals and benchmarks that the rules require.
The final rule rules under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 establish, for the first time, a new utilization goal that individuals with disabilities make up 7 percent of every job group. In the case of veterans, federal contractors are required to pursue a hiring benchmark of 8 percent or develop their own benchmark using five factors outlined in the rule. In addition, the rules change the way employers will gather information, requiring them to extend pre-offer invitations to individuals to self-identify as disabled or as protected veterans. The rules will apply to most federal contractors and become effective 180 days after they appear in the Federal Register, likely to occur in the coming weeks.
SHRM is offering a fee-based webcast, “Big Changes: New Affirmative Action Regs for Federal Contractors,” on Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. ET, which will explain how to comply with the new self-identification rules, record-keeping and documentation requirements. To register, click HERE.The OFCCP’s website, www.doj.gov/ofccp, contains additional information on both rules—including fact sheets, FAQs and details on webcasts.