On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published the Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), as amended. VEVRAA prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against protected veterans, and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these veterans. The Final Rule becomes effective on March 24, 2014. However, current contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements so as to provide federal contractors the opportunity to maintain their current AAP cycle.
Hiring Benchmarks: Federal contractors establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. Contractors must use one of two methods to establish their benchmarks. Contractors may choose to establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, which will be published and updated annually by the OFCCP. Alternatively, contractors may establish their own benchmarks using data that will soon be posted in the Benchmark Database by the OFCCP.
Data Collection: Federal contractors must document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans they hire. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.
Invitation to Self-Identify: Federal contractors must invite applicants to self-identify as protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process. The Final Rule includes sample invitations to self-identify that contractors may use.
Incorporation of the EO Clause: The Final Rule also requires that specific language be used when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference. The mandated language, though brief, will alert subcontractors to their responsibilities as Federal contractors.
Job Listings: When listing job openings federal contractors must provide that information in a manner and format permitted by the appropriate State or local job service, so that it can access and use the information to make the job listings available to job seekers.
Records Access: The Final Rule clarifies that contractors must allow the OFCCP to review documents related to a compliance check or focused review, either on-site or off-site, at the OFCCP’s option. In addition, the Final Rule requires contractors, upon request, to inform the OFCCP of all formats in which it maintains its records and provide them to the OFCCP in whichever of those formats the OFCCP requests.
In preparation for these changes, we suggest conducting a self-audit to determine the extent to which current hiring practices satisfy the new goals and benchmarks. Conducting self-audits now will better prepare contractors to meet the new regulations when they take effect in March 2014.
If you have any questions about your compliance with VEVRAA, please contact any of the attorneys at Royal LLP at (413) 586-2288.