New Rules for Federal Contractors under VEVRAA and Section 503

August, 2013


The long awaited changes to requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors with regard to Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are finally here. The new rules update the existing regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act by requiring covered contractors to measure their efforts in employing veterans and individuals with disabilities and to try to meet employment goals established by the Department of Labor.

The new requirements establish the following goals for federal contractors:

  • The VEVRAA rule requires contractors to establish an annual hiring benchmark, either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%), or based on the best available data and factors unique to their establishments.
  • The Section 503 rule establishes an aspirational 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities.

We have many questions about these new rules, and we are sure you do as well.

  • Where would our company get data on veteran employment for our industry?
  • Are federal contractors obligated to give preference to veterans?
  • How is "disability” defined? As per the ADAAA? Is the OFCCP/Department of Labor going to issue guidance on their definition of disability? As many of us have experienced employees with chronic migraines may qualify as individuals with disabilities. Employees diagnosed with depression often qualify even though medication can mitigate their symptoms.
  • Is the company required to survey all employees for disability status? What if someone with a known disability (for example, someone who has received an accommodation for migraines) does not self-identify?
  • How is company utilization versus these goals to be reported? In the annual AAP? In the annual VETS/100 or 100a report?
  • What about the new Section 503 requirements? Where are those utilization goals to be reported? Some contractors who must comply with Section 503 are not large enough or have smaller contracts so they do not have to maintain an AAP.

Despite the unknown, what we do know is that according to the Department of Labor the rules will be published "shortly” will take effect 180 days later after publication. So thankfully we will have some time to research appropriate data collection and reporting requirements and advise federal contractors on compliance.

We will publish updates as we receive new information. Until then, if you have any questions about AAP/EEO requirements as a federal contractor, please contact Cascade.

 

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