In August 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) adopted new rules intended to improve job opportunities for protected veterans and persons with disabilities.
Contractors must strive to employ disabled workers at a level that reaches 7% of each job group. If a contractor has 100 or fewer employees, this utilization goal applies to its entire workforce. Contractors must also meet benchmarks designed to measure their progress toward employing more protected veterans. Contractors may choose as a benchmark the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, as updated annually by the OFCCP, or they may establish their own benchmark using certain data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterans' Employment and Training Service and other factors reflecting the contractor's unique hiring circumstances.
While the benchmarks and goals are not quotas, contractors must periodically analyze their workforces to determine whether they are meeting their benchmarks and utilization goals and, if they are not, develop new outreach and recruitment programs.
Additionally, contractors will be required to —
Ask job applicants both at the pre-offer stage and periodically after hiring whether they are disabled or veterans;
Conduct new types of affirmative action related data analysis;
Implement a procedure for periodic review of personnel practices and qualification standards to ensure persons with disabilities and veterans have proper opportunities to be considered for employment;
Notify all subcontractors, in writing, of the contractor's affirmative action policy and request appropriate action in support of the policy; and
Include the affirmative action policy in employee handbooks or otherwise make it available to employees.
The rules take effect on February 25, 2014.
The OFCCP has a very active compliance-evaluation program, and material violations of OFCCP rules can result in significant sanctions against contractors.