New resources available on upcoming rules for federal contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has posted new resources on its website to help federal contractors comply with new regulations pertaining to recruiting people with disabilities and veterans.

New regulations going into effect March 24 strengthen requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In addition to helping contractors recruit and employ individuals with disabilities, the new information and resources are aimed at helping contractors encourage employees to self-identify as having a disability. The resources also cover assistive technologies and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Here are some of the new items posted:

  • Information on the recruitment and hiring of qualified individuals with disabilities. This webpage offers links to resources and information on student internships, mentoring programs, workforce recruitment programs for college students with disabilities, and strategies for increasing employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities.
  • Encouraging self-identification. These resources include a report by the National Governors Association on employing individuals with disabilities and promoting self-disclosure as a person with a disability.
  • Research on assistive technologies. This information includes the Forrester Research Inc. and Microsoft report on assistive technologies and corporate culture. It also includes information on U.S. Business Leadership Network: Disability at Work, a nonprofit helping businesses leverage disability inclusion in the workplace.

The new VEVRAA rule requires federal contractors to adopt annual benchmarks for hiring veterans based either on the percentage of veterans in the national workforce—currently eight percent—or on their own benchmark based on the best available data. The rule also includes requirements for job listings and subcontractor requirements.

The regulation on Section 503 sets an aspirational goal for federal contractors and subcontractors of seven percent of each job group in their workforce being made up of qualified individuals with disabilities. Contractors will be required to take steps designed to achieve the seven percent goal. The rule requires specific actions in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping, and policy dissemination.

Compliance with the affirmative action requirements of Subpart C of both the VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations isn’t required until the next affirmative action plan cycle after the March 24 effective date.

Make sure you are in compliance with the OFCCP’s contractor rules with two upcoming HR Hero webinars. “OFCCP Final Rules for Federal Contractors: New Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Obligations Explained” will be held March 5, and “OFCCP Self-Identification of Disability: New Mandatory Form Explained Ahead of March 24 Deadline” will be held March 11.