On March 24, 2014, major changes to regulations on the laws requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to engage in affirmative action for disabled individuals and veterans will go into effect. Is your company ready?

Now is the time to begin taking concrete steps to comply with the new regulations because some of the new required elements of your affirmative action program must be operational on March 24, 2014. Other requirements must be in place as of the date of your first affirmative action plan after March 24, but they make take some time to implement.

There are seven steps a contractor needs to take to ensure that they are in compliance with the new regulations. The first two steps cover what needs to be in place by March 24, 2014:

Step 1. Ensure notices and advertisements comply with new posting requirements. Under the new regulations, contractors must post certain notices electronically if any employees telecommute or do not work at the contractor’s physical facility. Those notices must be posted by March 24, 2014. You will also need to ensure that the reference to the Rehabilitation Act and VEVRAA in all your subcontracts has been replaced with certain language specified by the Department of Labor for any contracts that are entered into or modified on or after March 24, 2014. As of that date, any advertisements for employees must contain certain specified language regarding disabled individuals and veterans (and may not simply say that the contractor is an “equal opportunity employer” or list “M / F / D / V”). As you audit your postings and notices, do not forget about all the other notices that must also be posted in the facility, including your affirmative action policy statement, the hours that the affirmative action plan for disabled individuals and veterans can be reviewed by employees, the notice you have provided to a union regarding your commitment to affirmative action, and the poster called Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Step 2. Provide contact information to state employment service delivery systems. The first time you post an opening with the state employment service delivery system in each state where you have establishments after March 24, 2014, you will need to provide that agency with certain information about your status as a federal contractor, the name and location of each hiring location within the state, contact information for your hiring officials and external job search organizations, and inform them that you desire to receive priority referrals for veterans. You also will have to provide them with updated information each time the hiring location or contact information changes.

While implementing these new regulations, we recommend that contractors take this opportunity to review their entire affirmative action program to ensure full compliance with not only these new regulations, but also many other requirements that contractors have often overlooked in the past. If you would like more information about the new regulations and the seven steps a contractor should take to ensure compliance with these regulations, please contact us. And stay tuned for the next five steps, coming soon!