The Department of Labor says that contractors must follow the new OFCCP regulations for any affirmative action plans that are developed after March 24, 2014. Will you be ready to assess your company’s compliance with the new requirement of seven percent (7%) disabled employees in each job group? Will you be able to track your hiring of veterans against the new hiring benchmark? Have you thought about the new narrative language that will be needed?
To be prepared, you will need to first follow step four of seven to getting into compliance with the new OFCCP regulations.
Step 4. Create new affirmative action plans for veterans and the disabled. This step essentially consists of four subparts.
- Data Collection Requirements. Contractors must begin collecting various data relating to job postings, jobs filled, and disabled and veteran applicants and hires. This data must be compiled each year as part of the annual plan update and maintained for three years. The data will be used for assessing the effectiveness of the contractor’s affirmative action efforts (something we will discuss more in step five).
- Benchmarks for Hiring Veterans. Contractors must either follow the OFCCP national hiring benchmark (currently eight percent (8%)) for veterans or create their own benchmark and document the basis for it. This benchmark will be used to assess the effectiveness of the contractor’s affirmative action efforts.
- Goals for Disabled. Contractors must establish a placement goal of seven percent (7%) for individuals with a disability in their workforce. For contractors with 100 or more employees, this goal applies not only to their entire workforce, but also each particular job group. This is a real game changer. If you have not met your 7%, we expect the OFCCP will be asking probing questions about what affirmative action efforts you have taken to recruit individuals with disabilities.
- Revisions to Plan Narratives. In connection with the new data collection requirements, the veteran benchmark, and the goal for the disabled, contractors will need to update the language in their affirmative action plans to address these new requirements as well as others, including new recommendations for reasonable accommodation procedures, updated language in the policy statement, new terms for veterans, and a new assessment of one’s affirmative action efforts.
When we present step 4 to clients as part of our implementation presentation (as we’ve been doing a lot of recently), this is usually when clients get really quiet and then someone asks, “Are you sure we are really a covered federal contractor?” An understandable question, for sure.
Stay tuned, if you can bear it, for more to come in steps five through seven.