ERS Group Insights

Each day ERS Group’s experts interact with clients engaged in complex legal, regulatory, and business matters. Our work requires us to remain up to date with these issues, and we share our insights through our blog.

Help for Federal Contractors

Web Admin - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2014-2015 has been a transition period for federal contractors, and to help them, OFCCP has provided sample AAPs for Section 503 and VEVRAA.  Learn more about this and similar resources here.

 

Many federal contractors are in the midst of updating their Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) to bring them into compliance with the requirements implemented in 2014.  Beginning last year, OFCCP has increased the expectations for federal contractors to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities (Section 503) and protected veterans 

(Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act / VEVRAA), including directives that result in federal contractors needing to take an individualized approach to assessment of their affirmative action programs on an ongoing basis.  Affirmative action compliance officers and HR personnel do not have to struggle with these initiatives alone.  The OFCCP, legal counsel, and affirmative action consultants provide many high quality resources to help them monitor, review and assess their programs to promote diversity in their workplaces.  In this blog, we have provided a guide to a number of these resources.

 

New Sample AAPs

OFCCP recently supplemented its regularly posted sample AAP library with AAPs for Section 503 (individuals with disabilities) and VEVRAA (protected veterans). These AAPs include sample narratives and support documentation, which require expanded recordkeeping.

 

Compliance with the protected veterans and individuals with disabilities regulations now goes beyond standard reports and requires contractors to evaluate and modify their policies, practices and procedures. Reviews of the personnel processes and job qualification standards, as well as assessment of the outreach and recruitment efforts now have to be described in the written affirmative action programs (AAPs), along with other required components. To assist the federal contractor community in preparation of the written AAPs, the OFCCP has recently posted on their website sample transition year AAPs for individuals with disabilities (Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and protected veterans.

 

These sample AAPs are provided “for illustrative and technical assistance purposes only,” yet they provide a good template for contractors to develop their own narratives and capture and report data. In these sample AAPs, OFCCP relies upon examples they previously provided during public training webinars on Sections 503 and VEVRAA dealing with the topics of Self‐Assessment, Outreach and Recruitment on January 16 and February 6, 2014.  Federal contractors are encouraged to review these sample AAPs with their affirmative action officers and counsel in order to develop the documentation to satisfy basic compliance requirements, and be reflective of the employer’s own organization and business practices.

 

The Current OFCCP Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing Request

In addition to producing annual written affirmative action programs, most of these recordkeeping requirements now appear on the Itemized Listing sent with the Scheduling Letter to federal contractors facing OFCCP audits.  The new Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing became effective for all OFCCP audits initiated after mid‐October 2014.  This new Itemized Listing effectively added eleven (11) new items that concern various recordkeeping and document production requirements found in Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations.  Each federal contractor will only have 30 days to submit their AAPs to the OFCCP upon request, as well as to prepare an assessment of various affirmative action obligations for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  These new assessments should become a part of the annual AAP preparation process.

 

Legal Viewpoints

OFCCP’s increased scrutiny of federal contractors has been a topic of conversation among labor and employment attorneys across the country.  Not only are the Section 503 and VEVRAA requirements of interest, but attorneys are also providing guidance to clients on LGBT Rights and Equal Pay issues.  Finally, many legal observers are watchful of increased coordination between the OFCCP and the EEOC.  To learn more about current labor employment trends, view the papers presented at the 2015 American Bar Association’s National Conference on Equal Opportunity Employment Law.  In particular, view the papers for the panels, “Advanced OFCCP: VEVRAA, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, OFCCP’s Compensation Tool, and Recent Executive Orders”; “Developing Law on LGBT Rights in the Workplace”; and “Equal Pay Bias: A Matter of Fairness or a False Premise?"  The full set of papers is available here.

 

ERS Group Insights

ERS Group’s AAP consultants review the current OFCCP recordkeeping requirements and provide actionable tips in their white paper “Compliance with the Recordkeeping Requirements of the Regulations Regarding Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.”

 

Learn more about these issues by browsing our blog or visiting our OFCCP Compliance page.

 


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