The Federal Contractor Veterans’ Employment Report, VETS-4212, replaces the VETS 100 and VETS-100A reports. Federal contractors now will provide more accurate data on the number of protected veterans in their workforce.
Throughout history, the US Government has provided employment protection to members of the military and reservists. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), first passed in 1994, prohibits employers from “discrimination against past and present members of the uniformed services, and applicants to the uniformed services.” In 2013, the OFCCP took it a step further with new regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 as amended (VEVRAA), and designed to improve job opportunities for protected veterans (defined as recently separated veterans, disabled veterans, Armed Forces service medal veterans, and active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans). The new regulations require federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain these veterans and to include an annual assessment of the effectiveness of these outreach and recruitment efforts. This push to assist veterans in the transition to civilian employment, has been a priority of the Department of Labor (DOL) and has been influenced by:
- the projected shrinking of the military and reserves -- according to federal statistics, from 2013 -2018, nearly 300,000 service members per year (or 1.5 million total) will be returning to civilian life and looking to start new careers in our current economic environment; and
- the unemployment statistics for returning veterans, which is higher than for the nonveteran population (Employment Situation of Veterans Report) –Current Population Survey data show that as of 2013, the unemployment status for Gulf War-era veterans in the 18-24 year old age bracket was 24.30%, as compared to 15.80% for male nonveterans in the same age bracket.
On September 25, 2014, the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) of the DOL published the final rule revising the regulations implementing the reporting requirement under VEVRAA in the Federal Register. This final rule represents the crucial data collection component of federal contractors’ obligation to annually assess their effectiveness in recruiting, hiring and retaining protected veterans. The current annual benchmark for protected veterans employed in the civilian labor force nationally is 7.2%, and is based on information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Contractors may also use information and data accessed through the VEVRAA Benchmark Database. This new rule creates a Federal Contractor Veterans’ Employment Report, VETS-4212, replacing the VETS 100 and VETS-100A reports Federal Contractors previously submitted. The report applies to government contracts and subcontracts of $100,000 or more and must be submitted annually beginning in 2015. VETS estimates that approximately 15,000 contractors will be subject to VETS–4212 reporting in 2015.
The New Form for VETS-4212
The new form will use the same numbering system and categories as the EEO-1 Report. Most significantly, contractors will no longer need to report the number of veterans in their workforce by protected category, but by protected veteran status in the aggregate. As a result, the final number of protected veterans counted in the report will be more accurate, since the previous requirement to count by protected status categories, often resulted in double counting. Accordingly, the VETS believes its annual report to Congress will also be more accurate, and it will be possible “to include cross-year comparisons of Federal contractors employment and hiring of protected veterans in the annual report [to Congress], as well as the proportion of contractors’ workforce and new hires made up by protected veterans.’ Analyses of the cross-year trends in the employment of protected veterans can then be used to assess the extent Federal contractors are providing employment opportunities, and therefore better assist contractors in complying with their affirmative action obligations under VEVRAA. The following are the data that must be collected:
- The total number of employees in the workforce of such contractor, by job category and hiring location, and the total number of such employees, by job category and hiring location, who are protected veterans;
- The total number of new employees hired by the contractor during the period covered by the report, and of such employees, the number who are protected veterans; and
- The maximum number and minimum number of employees of such contractor at each hiring location during the annual period covered by the report.
The agency also modified the VETS-4212 Report to indicate that providing data on new hires by job category is optional. While the Federal Contractor Veteran's Employment Report VETS-4212 form and instructions were not included in the report, they are currently being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and are available through the Reginfo.gov portal.
Contact our OFCCP Compliance Group for additional information and review our blogs on protected veterans and the OFCCP.