Federal Contractors Beware: A New DOL Rule and New Requirements

Contributed by Karuna Brunk

In an effort to improve the hiring of veterans and individuals with disabilities, on August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced two new rules to update the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Both laws apply to federal contractors and subcontractors. 

The rules are similar and require the following from federal contractors:

  • The new addition to the VEVRAA sets a benchmark for hiring protected veterans.   Employers should use either the national percentage of veterans in the labor force (currently 8%) or calculate a new benchmark based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Similarly, the new addition to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 sets a 7% utilization goal for qualified individuals with disabilities in each job group or in an entire employer’s workforce if the contractor has fewer than 100 employees. 
  • Document and compare the number of veterans and individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs with those who are actually hired. 
  • Encourage applicants to self-identify as veterans or as individuals with disabilities throughout the application process.
  • Incorporate specific equal employment opportunity language into a subcontract clause.
  • Publicize job openings in a format and manner so that state or local jobs services can access them.
  • Allow the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to have access to and review these goals and results for compliance purposes.

In addition to the above, the update to the Rehabilitation Act incorporates the broad ADA Amendments Act definition of disability.  The bottom line for federal contractors – update your hiring processes and affirmative action plans to comply with the new DOL requirements!

To view the DOL press release, click here.