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Executive Summary: The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced final rules revising its Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Rehabilitation Act regulations. The rules will take effect 180 days after publication in the Federal Register.
One of the most significant changes imposed by the new VEVRAA rule is a requirement that contractors establish hiring benchmarks for protected veterans, using one of two methods. Contractors can use a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, as announced and updated annually by the OFCCP. Alternatively, contractors can establish their own benchmark using data from a Benchmark Database that the OFCCP will develop utilizing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Veterans' Employment and Training Service/Employment and Training Administration (VETS/ETA), as well other factors that reflect the contractor's unique hiring circumstances. Other changes required by the new rule include the maintenance of certain application and hiring data on protected veterans.
Significant changes imposed by the new Rehabilitation Act rule include the imposition of a nationwide 7% utilization goal for individuals with disabilities; the requirement that contractors conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment of problem areas, and establish specific action-oriented programs to address any identified problems; and new requirements for collection and maintenance of applicant and hiring data relating to individuals with disabilities.
The OFCCP's news release summarizes the new rules and explains the rationale behind them. The rules have not yet been published in the Federal Register, but are available on the OFCCP's web site at: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/ and http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.
FordHarrison's Affirmative Action/Government Contracts practice group will be providing a detailed analysis of the new rules and the agency's newly issued Federal Contract Compliance Manual. We will also be hosting webinars addressing these new developments. If you have any questions about the regulations or federal contractors' affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations, please contact Karen Tyner, firstname.lastname@example.org, Linda Cavanna-Wilk, email@example.com, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.