On March 24, 2014, new regulations requiring that contractors and subcontractors and depository institutions prepare Affirmative Action Plans for veterans and the disabled will go into effect. These regulations apply to contractors and subcontractors with fifty (50) or more employees which contract with the federal government for the purchase, sale or use of personal property or non personal services (including construction) for more than $50,000. The regulations also apply (as to veterans) to contracts of $100,000 or more entered or modified after December 1, 2003. Some, of the more significant impacts of the regulations include:
The requirements set hiring goals of 1) not less than seven (7%) percent of the workforce for disabled employees and 2) not less than eight (8%) of the workforce for veterans. However, contractors can use other benchmarks for veterans based on data provided by the OFCCP.
The regulations put many new requirements on contractors and subcontractors. For example, applicants should be invited to self identify as disabled or veterans when they apply for work. This means that pre employment forms should be revised to include disability and veteran status. In addition, employees should be asked to self identify as disabled every five years after being employed.
Contractors and subcontractors will be required to collect and annually review data on their total job openings, the number of jobs filled, and the numbers of veterans and disabled employees hired. These figures must be retained for three (3) years. Contractors and subcontractors must identify and link with recruitment sources that are 1) dedicated to providing veterans and the disabled job opportunities, 2) assure that all job openings are made available to qualified veterans and the disabled and 3) provide state/local job services with notice of all job openings other than senior management that a federal contractor or sub contractor desires priority referrals for veterans and the disabled for all openings and providing the name, location, contact information for all hiring locations in that state.
If a sub contractor is subject to these regulations, the contract must include in bold print language that the contract is subject to the affirmative action and non discrimination regulations.
Failure to meet the goals for veterans or disabled workers is not considered a violation of the regulations but will trigger outreach and recruitment efforts which must be documented by the contractor or subcontractor. The annual written reports must include the 1) criteria used to evaluate effectiveness the 2) employers conclusions on the effectiveness of the programs and 3) an assessment of the hiring date for the current year and the two prior years. Steps required to reach the bench marks may include removing tests which reduce veteran or disabled employment.
Contractors and subcontractors need to be aware of these new regulations and update their forms and policies to take them into account.
If you have any questions about the New Affirmative Action Plan Requirements, contact your Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP relationship attorney.