On May 8, 2020, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) announced the issuance of a new form that federal contractors must use to ask job applicants and employees to self-identify as disabled. This is the first revision to the form since March 2014, when the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were revised, and contractors were required to perform data collection regarding applicants and employees with disabilities. The 2014 regulations require federal contractors subject to Section 503 (government contractors and subcontractors holding a government contract worth more than $15,000) to ask applicants to self-identify as disabled during the application process. The regulations further require federal contractors to request self-identification post-offer, to perform a survey of their workforce requesting employees to self-identify as disabled every five years, and to remind employees at least once in the interim that they may self-identify as disabled if they wish.
While the changes to the form are modest, the OFCCP mandates use of its OMB-approved form for the self-identification, and does not allow contractors to change the content of the form. Realizing that use of a new form will require contractors to make changes to their applicant tracking systems, especially those that use electronic systems, OFFCP has given contractors until August 4, 2020 to incorporate the new form into their applicant and employee systems and processes. The new form can be found here in either PDF or Word versions.
And that reminds me – if you haven’t done a re-survey of your workforce, you are likely overdue. The Section 503 regulations went into effect in March 2014, but did not become effective until the next regular update to a contractor’s affirmative action plan. For contractors with affirmative action plans tied to the government’s fiscal year, that meant the first employee survey did not need to occur until September 1, 2014. For those on a calendar year, the first employee survey did not need to occur until January 1, 2015. At this point, except for companies that first became federal contractors after May, 2015, every federal contractor should have performed a re-survey of its workforce requesting employees to self-identify as disabled in accordance with OFCCP’s directives. Any contractor who has not done so, should quickly make plans to do so.
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