Extension for VETS-4212 Gives Employers Time to File Correctly

More time granted to all federal contractors, not just those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. September 29, 2017
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​Although the path of destruction left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma was confined to a few states, federal contractors nationwide have until Nov. 15 to file the VETS-4212 form, which tracks their efforts to employ veterans, instead of the usual Sept. 30 for the annual form, the Department of Labor announced on its website. This gives contractors time to make sure their filings are in order, attorneys say.

Federal contractors also should fulfill their affirmative action obligations for veterans under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act by testing out recruiting strategies that have worked for others.

[SHRM members-only HR form: Applicant invitation to self-identify as veteran (VEVRAA)]

Those contracting with the federal government must report annually on their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans by filing the VETS-4212 form.

The VETS-4212 form covers:

  • Disabled veterans.
  • Active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans. Campaign badge veterans served on active duty during a war—such as World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan—or in an expedition for which a campaign badge or an expeditionary medal has been authorized—for instance, in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia or Grenada.
  • Armed Forces service medal veterans—veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded according to Executive Order 12985.
  • Recently separated veterans—veterans within 36 months from discharge or release from active duty.

Tips on Filing VETS-4212

Alissa Horvitz, an attorney with Roffman Horvitz in McLean, Va., recommends that contractors:

  • Ensure that they are filing the electronic forms correctly. That means there will be a different page or set of upload rows for each location with 50 or more employees. There will be different pages or upload rows depending on whether contractors choose to file for smaller locations one by one or if they aggregate smaller hiring locations within the same state. The filing format for the VETS-4212 is not the same as the EEO-1 format, she cautioned.
  • Make certain that they obtain their maximum and minimum employee counts for each location.
  • Ensure that their 12 months of hires reach back based on the date of their payroll snapshots. For example, if a contractor took its payroll snapshot for the payroll period ending Friday, Aug. 18, then its hires would be from Aug. 19, 2016, to Aug. 18, 2017.
  • Take a snapshot in the correct payroll time window: from July 1 to Aug. 31.

"Don't just blindly copy the format that you inherited from a predecessor employee who has since left the company," Horvitz said. "Make certain that you, yourself, have read the VETS-4212 filing instructions and are satisfied that the data you are pulling, uploading and filing is actually being done correctly."

Eric Leonard, an attorney with Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C., added that contractors should, when in doubt, file the form. Even if the company does not have any covered hires during the time frame at issue, the company must file the VETS-4212 form if it has a covered contract. If it does not, the agency contracting officers may not pay that contractor.

Improve Recruitment Efforts

Recruitment of veterans can be improved with job services agencies, which often release job advertisements to veterans slightly in advance of releasing the postings to the general population, noted Cheryl Behymer, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Columbia, S.C.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has some veteran outreach resources on its website. Employers that use third-party vendors also should confirm that they are posting jobs with veterans resource agencies, she said.

Horvitz recommended the following ways to improve the recruitment of veterans:

  • Ensure that the contractor's advertisements are reaching websites that veterans frequent. Talk to people in the military who help veterans find jobs to find out where they send veterans to look for jobs online.
  • Create a publicly available chart that lists information about veterans who've been hired, including what rank the veterans in the workplace held at discharge, what jobs they did for the military and what job they hold now.
  • Create internal networking opportunities for veterans in the workplace so that the organization appeals to veterans looking for jobs.
  • Hold an onsite information fair that focuses on describing all the types of jobs in the workplace if the contractor is near a military base.

Horvitz said recruiters should also be encouraged to volunteer their time with veterans who need help writing resumes.

"If the government contractor concludes that its past initiatives are not working, it is expected to find new methods that are more likely to result in a greater proportion of qualified applicants in the pool and thus qualified veteran hires," she said.

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