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Beginning April 1, 2024, federal contractors will be able to certify the status of their AAPs for each establishment and/or functional/business unit, as applicable. The deadline for certifying compliance is July 1, 2024.

The Contractor Portal is the OFCCP’s platform and covered federal contractors and subcontractors must certify whether they meet their requirements to develop and maintain annual Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs). 

Why did OFCCP develop the Portal?

In 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study that found that many federal contractors were not meeting their affirmative action obligations. It discovered that close to 85 percent of evaluated contractor establishments did not submit their AAP within 30 days of OFCCP’s request. As a result of this study, the OFCCP in 2018 proposed an online portal that enabled contractors to register and annually certify their compliance for each location.

This is an area of concern as a basic compliance matter, but it also goes beyond that. Not having AAPs in place also means that these companies’ workforces don’t have the benefit of these plans and the opportunities they provide. In addition, these companies may not have been taking a systemic look at diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in their workplaces, which is a best practice.

What is an Affirmative Action Program – and who needs one?

According to federal regulation 41 CFR § 60-2.10, “an affirmative action program is a management tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity. A central premise underlying affirmative action is that absent discrimination, over time, a contractor’s workforce, generally, will reflect the gender, racial, and ethnic profile of the labor pools from which the contractor recruits and selects.”3

 In short, it means a contractor provides employment opportunities to all applicants and employees, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Contractors that meet certain jurisdiction thresholds have an obligation to develop and maintain written Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs). Executive Order 11246 and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require federal contractors and subcontractors that hold a covered contract of $50,000 or more and employ 50 or more employees to develop and maintain Affirmative Action Programs (AAP) under each authority. Also, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRA) of 1974 requires federal contractors with at least 50 employees and contracts of $150,000 or more to develop an AAP under VEVRAA.4

Why is this important?

One of the basic components of being a federal contractor is having an AAP. Companies should take this requirement seriously. Companies that don’t register with the Portal and certify their AAP status risk being at heightened risk of being reviewed and potentially losing out on federal contracts.

Let Circa help you understand your obligations and how to be prepared. Connect with us today.

Check out our helpful OFCCP Resources. 


Angel Fischer
Senior Product Marketing Manager

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