The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently issued regulations revising existing regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistant Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  These laws prohibit covered federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, respectively, and require these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these veterans and individual with disabilities.  The revised regulations require federal contractors and subcontractors to adopt benchmarks each year for hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities.

The benchmark for veterans is either: (1) the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%); or (2) the contractor’s own benchmark based on the best available data, utilizing five factors set forth in the regulations.  Those factors are: (a) the average percentage of veterans in workforce over the past three years in the state where the employer is located; (b) the number of veterans who participated in the employment service delivery system (i.e., One-Stop Career Centers) over the past four quarters in the state where the employer is located; (c) the applicant and hiring ratios for veterans in the previous year; (d) the employer’s recent assessments of the effectiveness of its outreach and recruitment efforts; and (e) any other factors, such as the nature of the job or its location, that would affect the availability of qualified protected veterans

The benchmark for individuals with disabilities is 7% for each “job group” which consists of a group of jobs with similar duties, pay rates and opportunities.  For federal contractors and subcontractors with 100 or fewer employees, the 7% benchmark for individuals with disabilities is applied across the entire workforce.  Other revisions include data analysis and retention for veteran/disabled applicants and employees, and the invitation for applicants to self-identify as veterans or an individual with a disability.  Click here and here for the regulations.  The regulations go into effect on March 24, 2014.