Gone are the days when being a federal contractor meant an expensive dinner with politicians, followed by getting a lucrative contract signed with the government, and breaking ground on some swamp land redevelopment only to see it stall for years due to “unexpected delays”. Being a federal contractor now means competing with many qualified and experienced businesses for coveted government work that pays like clockwork and ensures a living wage for your workers. In other words, being a federal contractor is a privilege. And with privilege comes responsibility.
Vice President Biden recently announced two new regulations for federal contractors that will, for the first time, actually measure the contractors’ progress toward equal employment opportunity for veterans and people with disabilities.
Under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (try saying that with a full mouth), federal contractors are required to establish an annual hiring benchmark for veterans, typically based on the national average for veterans in the workforce percentage (currently 8%).
Under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, federal contractors will be held to a goal of ensuring that 7% of their workforce will be employees with disabilities.
You can read the Final Rules on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website here and here. They go into effect 180 days after publication.