It makes sense that smaller businesses without government contracts are unfamiliar with OFCCP regulations, purposes, and significance to their business. However, if you have Federal contracts or hope to become a contractor with the government in the future, it is crucial that you understand and are familiar with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
The Purpose of OFCCP
The OFCCP’s primary purpose is to enforce the contractual obligation of equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action required of companies that engage with the Federal government for the benefit of wage earners and job seekers. Some of the requirements include the development of a written affirmative action plan, the creation of an internal audit and reporting system, and posting of several notices of employees’ rights and non-discrimination under the laws the OFCCP oversees. It also covers the filing of an annual EEO report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and retention of specific employee records. The OFCCP extends specialized support to Federal contractors and subcontractors to facilitate understanding of regulatory requirements and the review process. It also manages compliance evaluations and investigations of Federal contractors and subcontractors’ staffing policies and procedures, and monitors the progress in satisfying the agreement terms through intermittent compliance reports.
New Requirements for Federal Contractors
OFCCP regulations require Federal contractors to post notices familiarizing employees with their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Additionally, a new regulatory audit process makes Federal contractors undergoing compliance evaluations subject to enhanced investigation and further in-depth analysis of their non-discrimination practices, affirmative action programs (AAPs), and records. The hiring benchmark for veterans has also been adjusted. New regulations dictate that contractors regularly estimate the portion of all new hires who are recognized as veterans and compare that rate to an established benchmark. They must also periodically evaluate the effectiveness of their attempts to hire veterans, and take relevant, decisive action to interest and employ veterans.
How the OFCCP Affects Recruiting
Today’s businesses have to maintain an increasingly diverse labor market. In fact, diversity applicants are one of newest groups to enter the workforce, and employers need to be proactive and recruit from this talent pool. This process is crucial to your overall hiring plan. As a Federal contractor or subcontractor, new OFCCP regulations directly affect your diversity recruiting actions. These new rules require documentation of the number of applicants self-identified as individuals with disabilities, and the total number of job opportunities, positions filled, candidates for all jobs, applicants with disabilities hired, and candidates hired. Contractors must also alert job seekers that they will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, disability, or veteran status. Also, if employers utilize external recruiting sources, records must be kept for three years instead of two, and the third party recruiters or subcontractors must follow all the OFCCP regulations and hiring rules. Pay discrimination rules have also changed. Federal contractors cannot discipline or fire employees or job applicants for discussing their pay or that of their co-workers. This makes it an ideal time to critique your pay discrimination practices. In addition, a minimum wage increase will occur this year, and if your direct hire recruiting agencies aren’t compliant, both you and your agencies may be fined. A regular review of internal practices and those of your external contractors will ensure compliance.
Laws the OFCCP Oversees
Executive Order 11246 expects Federal contractors to take affirmative action to guarantee that equal opportunity is implemented in all aspects of their hiring practices. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act states that government contractors must take affirmative action to hire and promote competent individuals with disabilities. The ADA prohibits most government and private employers from discrimination practices against qualified individuals with disabilities concerning advancement, firing, hiring, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Help Available for Small Businesses
Smaller Federal contractors without a dedicated EEO specialist on staff can receive OFCCP regulations and compliance information from the agency’s online site. Contractors with less than 150 workers may also utilize an alternative method of establishing AAP job combinations for the purpose of generating an AAP. Smaller companies that want to become Federal contractors for the first time can receive Federal contract preparation through Business.gov. The website provides examples of marketing to the Federal government, information about in-person help and support for Federal contractors, and access to events and training programs. As you search for methods to understand OFCCP regulations, use the resources here at Mighty Recruiter to learn the best ways to do so.