New Affirmative-Action Rules Finalized

On August 27 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced two final rules that will expand the affirmative-action obligations of direct federal contractors and their subcontractors with regard to veterans and individuals with disabilities. The rules update regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Both rules will be effective 180 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

AGC of America fought hard against the rules and is now working on resources to help members remain in compliance.

“The administration’s decision to finalize two new oppressive employment regulations for federal contractors forces us to object to measures whose goals we support and objectives our members already meet” said AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr. “That is because these rules will force federal contractors to spend an estimated $6 billion a year to produce reams of new paperwork proving they are doing what the federal government already knows they are doing.”

The VEVRAA rule requires contractors to annually adopt a benchmark either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8 percent) or their own benchmark based on local and other data. The Section 503 rule introduces a hiring goal for federal contractors and subcontractors that 7 percent of each job group in their workforce (i.e. EEO-1 report job groups) are qualified individuals with disabilities. Both rules require contractors to offer applicants the opportunity to self-identify as a protected veteran pre- and post-offer to collect and maintain five new data points on veteran and disabled applicants and hires and to abide by expanded recordkeeping requirements among other things.

AGC is currently conducting a full analysis of the rules and will provide more detailed information soon. To help contractors comply AGC is updating its Affirmative Action Manual for Construction and will host a webinar detailing the complete requirements and impact of these rules on the construction industry. Details will be announced soon.

In addition AGC has added a session on the new rules at the 2013 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference that will provide an overview of the requirements. The conference will be held October 16-17 in Chicago IL. For more information or to register click here.