The Office of Management and Budget has approved a revised Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) form that federal contractors must use to invite job applicants and employees to self-identify their disabilities. Comments from numerous OFCCP contractors prompted the revised form's release.
In August 2013, the OFCCP adopted new rules to improve and increase job opportunities for protected veterans and persons with disabilities. These new rules, which will become effective on March 24, 2014, include new hiring and recordkeeping requirements for veterans and individuals with disabilities. The rules will significantly change the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors.
The revised self-identification form issued by the OFCCP invites applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability. Contractors are required to solicit this information using the language provided and in the manner directed by the OFCCP Director, and must use this specific form either electronically or in hard copy. The revised regulations require that contractors solicit this information from all applicants and candidates both before and after a job offer has been extended, but before the employee has started work. The information must also be solicited from all employees within one year of a contractor being subject to the new requirements and on a five-year basis thereafter.
By inviting individuals to self-identify, contractors will be able to track the number of individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs as well as the number of employees with disabilities. Employers can then use this information to assess the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts.
If a contractor has an existing affirmative action plan in place prior to the new rules taking effect on March 24, 2014, the contractor will not be required to solicit this information until it updates its affirmative action plan. However, a contractor developing an affirmative action plan after March 24, 2014 is required to begin soliciting information from applicants as of the affirmative action plan date. All contractors are encouraged to begin soliciting self-identification information from applicants as close to March 24, 2014 as possible.
In gearing up for these changes, the OFCCP has offered additional information to aid compliance.
The OFFCP has issued a list of resources that will aid federal contractors and subcontractors with outreach and recruitment of veterans and individuals with disabilities. These resources include information regarding:
Reasonable accommodations in the workplace;
Available tax incentives and credits to employers hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities; and
Methods of recruiting, hiring and promoting self-identification for individuals with a disability or veterans.
The OFCCP has also provided additional FAQs to assist contactors with implementation of the new rules regarding veterans and individuals with disabilities.