Who wants less money?!
Apparently, the OFCCP does. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking more than $12 million less than it was allotted in 2018. According to the OFCCP’s Congressional Budget Justification for FY 2019, the decrease is due in large part to the planned reduction in headcount from 525 to 450 full time equivalent employees.
The OFCCP also outlined its main priorities for FY 2019:
High-impact systemic compliance evaluations
The OFCCP states that it “can make better use of its resources, and minimize the cost and burden of compliance, by streamlining its desk audit procedures.” No further explanation of how the desk audit would be “streamlined” is provided, but the agency anticipates that 35% of its cases alleging discrimination will involve systemic compensation discrimination.
Mega construction projects
According to the budget plan, the OFCCP anticipates increased focus on mega construction projects because of its potential impact on a community. The agency intends to provide “intensive compliance assistance” at the beginning stages of the projects. (The OFCCP defines a MCP as a construction project valued at $25 million or more, that will last for at least 1 year, and that has the potential to have a significant employment and economic impact on the community).
This program has the potential to increase diversity in construction because it includes early involvement with the funding agencies, supports creating relationships between the contractors/subcontractors, apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, local or regional recruitment sources, and engages in community outreach. All this is done before any compliance evaluation is scheduled.
OFCCP estimates that 60% of is construction compliance evaluations will involve mega construction projects.
Expanding its array of compliance assistance tools is also an item on the OFCCP’s agenda. It lists various ways that it will offer this service to contractors:
- Formal training webinars and seminars
- Toll-free help desk for one-on-one assistance
- Tools, templates, samples, and technical assistance guides
- Digital outreach
- Sponsoring regional and district office events for contractors and participating in contractor events and conferences
- Proactively seeking stakeholder feedback
Skilled Regional Centers
To support its various initiatives, the OFCCP proposes to establish “Skilled Regional Centers” in San Francisco and New York that would house “highly skilled and specialized compliance officers capable of handling various large, complex and industry specialized compliance evaluations.” The agency believes that this will increase the quality of compliance evaluations and provide more efficient use of the OFCCP’s limited resources.
Of course, the budget itself must be approved by Congress and signed by the President before becoming effective. But the agency’s plan provides great insight into its stated priorities and expectations. Contractors should not expect “easier” or less involved compliance evaluations as the agency becomes more efficient and sophisticated.