We continue now with step three of seven to getting into compliance with the new OFCCP regulations. As we said in our prior post covering steps one and two, on March 24, 2014 major revisions to regulations on the laws requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to engage in affirmative action for disabled individuals and veterans go into effect. While steps one and two need to be in place on or soon after March 24, the remaining steps are only required to be in place as of the date of the first affirmative action plan developed after March 24…but they will take some significant time and effort to implement.

Step 3. Implement new requirements concerning invitations to self-identify for disabled and veteran applicants and employees. Current contractors hopefully already know that they are required to provide applicants with an invitation to self-identify as disabled or a veteran at the post-offer, pre-employment stage of the hiring process. But under the new regulations, they will also have to extend applicants an invitation to self-identify at the pre-offer stage. The disability form to be used is one that is prescribed by the OFCCP, while the OFCCP’s veteran’s form (which actually consists of two different forms for each stage) is recommended.

In addition, one of the most significant pieces of the new regulation is that contractors are now required to survey all of their current employees about whether they have a disability and that survey must be done within the first year after the contractor becomes subject to this requirement (and every five years thereafter). Contractors will also be required to remind employees once in each five-year period that they may identify as disabled.

While contractors can wait until the beginning of their next plan year after March 24, 2014 to begin providing the new self-identification forms, many contractors may wish to begin earlier. Not surprisingly, the OFCCP is encouraging early implementation. At a minimum, contractors will need to be ready to “flip the switch” on the effective date of their first plan after March 24, 2014.

Our OFCCP compliance team is busy advising contractors on issues related to implementation of the new regulations. If you have not begun to review the new requirements and the specific issues you may face in implementing, now is the time!