By Amy Stark, Practice Director of Talent Acquisition and Connie Maniscalco, Practice Leader
By now you have heard about the new OFCCP rules that go into effect March 24, 2014 for government contractors concerning changes to Affirmative Action requirements. In short, the final rules are intended to increase hiring and employment of veterans and of people with disabilities. Recently we had the opportunity to meet with Debra Carr, Director, Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development, Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Program. Debra was the guest speaker at a Professional Services Council (PSC) meeting. We asked Debra what the new rules would mean to government contractors chosen for an OFCCP audit. Debra indicated the OFCCP will take a new approach with audits in light of the changes recently made to the OFCCP policies and programs. She went on to say the new approach will be more conversational, and the auditors will work with contractors to learn more about what is working and what is not in terms of recruitment outreach. Debra said the next 12 to 18 months will be a learning process for the OFCCP auditors regarding these new initiatives.
When asked about the new hiring goals for persons with disabilities the final rule says a 7% aspirational goal company-wide for companies with less than 100 employees or 7% for each job group for those companies with 100 or more employees. We asked Debra to clarify what is meant by an aspirational goal. She said, firms will not be cited or found in violation of the new hiring goals (aspirations) if they do not meet these numbers so long as they are engaging in the appropriate outreach and recruiting activities (unless they are engaging in outright discrimination).
Debra educated us on the resources available for government contractors including an upcoming webinar being offered by the Department of Labor (DOL) on the Equal Opportunity Clause and Tag Line for Job Listings taking place on February 20, 2014. The webinar session will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. In addition, the DOL website also provides links to previous webinars for viewing for those of us that may not have been able to attend. A plethora of resources is available. In fact PSC has a calendar of events designed with government contractors in mind whose aim is to educate government contractors. The 2014 calendar can be accessed here.
As HR practitioners, we encourage you to arm yourself with as much information as you can to help ensure your company is up to date and compliant with the new regulations. Take action now and register for the upcoming DOL webinar on February 20th by clicking here. Remember knowledge is power!