On September 24, 2013, the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) published final rules amending requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors (“contractors”) under both the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 503”). According to the OFCCP, the final rules are designed to strengthen the affirmative action obligations of contractors in an effort to improve hiring and employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities. Highlights of the VEVRAA and Section 503 final rules include, among other things, that contractors must (1) establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans and apply a nationwide 7% utilization goal for qualified individual with disabilities, (2) document and annually update quantifiable applicant and hiring data, (3) invite applicants to self-identify at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, and (4) use specific language when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference.
The final rules become effective on March 24, 2014. However, current contractors that already have a written affirmative action program in place on the effective date will have additional time to come into compliance with certain requirements.