As reported in the September 4th edition of The Fast Laner, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") issued new regulations regarding affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors. While the previous regulations were unclear as to their effective date, the DOL has announced that covered employers must start complying with the new affirmative action obligations beginning on March 24, 2014. These regulations mandate that federal contractors and subcontractors adopt specific hiring goals for individuals with disabilities and for military veterans. The regulations require covered employers to: (a) establish a seven percent goal for employing disabled individuals in each job group of their workforce (or, if the employer has less than 100 employees total, the goal applies to the entire workforce); and (b) establish a hiring goal for military veterans of eight percent or "their own benchmark based on the best available data." While the March 24 deadline may seem far away, it is not too early for covered employers to begin reviewing their current affirmative action plans, examining the current state of their disability and veteran hiring practices, and planning next steps toward meeting the mandates of the new regulations.