The revised Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans Assistance Act (VEVRAA) are now in effect. The date has come and gone, so what now? What should contractors have in place, and what should they be working on? What is OFCCP doing now, and what might we see on the horizon? Let’s explore these and many other important questions.
First, what should be in place right now? The changes for Section 503 and VEVRAA federal contractors should have in place are:
The Equal Opportunity Clause (EO Clause) is language that must appear in any contract with a subcontractor, supplier, or vendor if your company buys goods or services from another company that are necessary to fulfill your contract with a federal government agency. The supplier must be notified that it may be subject to the affirmative action regulations. This clause has always been a requirement in subcontracts and purchase orders; however, the new regulations added two new paragraphs to emphasize Section 503 and VEVRAA obligations. Recently, OFCCP said it will allow the two new additional paragraphs to be combined into one. Here is Berkshire’s suggested sample language for the EO Statement; note the second paragraph is in bold:
This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR §§ 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of Protected Veteran status or disability, and require affirmative action by covered prime contractors and subcontractors to employ and advance in employment qualified Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.
The Equal Opportunity Policy/Affirmative Action Statement is used to inform employees and applicants of the company’s policy of non-discrimination. Your statement should now indicate the top U.S. Executive’s support for the AAP. This statement should be reaffirmed annually, dated, and signed by the top level U.S. Executive of the company. Here are some other things you should know about the EO Statement:
The EEO tagline is used in employment advertising, job postings, brochures, and other recruitment items. This tagline has been updated to ensure everyone who sees it understands what the tagline means. Abbreviations such as: M/F/D/V are no longer allowed. The updated tagline shows the company is welcoming and inclusive. Below is a suggestion for the new tagline:
Now that March 24 has passed, here are a few things your company should be doing:
One more word about this transitional period…OFCCP has made it clear in its series of webinars/ they understand this is a lot of change, and some contractors may have difficulty meeting the deadlines for the changes. Some of the changes require cooperation from technical resources, vendors, and others in the company outside of HR. Document your efforts to comply so it is evident you are moving toward compliance.
There is still much to be done, but you have made it through the first hurdle. During the next few months you should be planning and initiating changes needed for your first AAP following March 24. Berkshire recommends you begin implementing the voluntary self-identification solicitation changes as soon as possible. Research and seek recruitment sources to provide you with qualified Protected Veterans (PV) and Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs). Begin documenting activities and assessing these efforts. And keep checking OFCCP’s website for updates to the Frequently Asked Questions and additional resources posted. On Friday, March 21, OFCCP announced a new outreach and recruitment database to help contractors find qualified IWDs and PV. The Disability and Community Resources Directory can be found on OFCCP’s website here, along with other resources to assist with implementation of these rules at Contractor Resources.
For more information on this transition phase, and what to expect next, please contact a Berkshire Associates’ compliance expert at 800.882.8904. We have a number of resources and tools available to make these changes a bit easier.