The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has announced the addition of a new feature to their Contractor Assistance Portal. This newly added feature will provide a way for contractors to post questions and share knowledge among contractors. OFCCP hopes the topics feature will encourage conversation among stakeholders and allow contractors to learn from other contractors as they can have helpful experience and tips.
This week, just in time for back to school, OFCCP released three new initiatives with a student related focus. The first is a set of FAQs for those organizations that have multi-building establishments that are campus-like in nature such as universities, hospitals, and larger companies. The FAQs say that these types of organizations may have a single AAP or multiple AAPs depending on a variety of factors. Contractors should consider the following when determining if their campus should have one or more AAPs.
While many companies are focused on filing their EEO-1 Component 2 reports by the September 30th deadline, for some federal contractors, there is also the annual requirement for the VETS 4212 report to be filed by that date.
In what may come as news for some federal contractors, OFCCP may now require placement goals to be set for specific racial/ethnic and gender subgroups when the percentage of a particular minority group employed is substantially less than would be reasonably expected given the percentage of that group available for employment.
This week, OFCCP created a webpage to provide contractors more information about the “new” compliance check reviews that will be completed as part of the current round of audits. OFCCP has had the capability to conduct compliance checks for many years but has not opted to schedule them in the recent past. With this round of reviews, OFCCP re-introduced the Compliance Check, to be used in 500 of the 3,000 audits to be scheduled in the coming months. The agency has indicated they intend to schedule up to 1,000 Checks per audit list in the coming years, as a means of ensuring compliance across more contractor establishments.
As has been the norm during the Spring months, the OFCCP has reassessed the Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark. For Affirmative Action Plans developed after March 31, 2019, the national benchmark for the percentage of Protected Veterans contractors should seek to hire is 5.9 percent.
According to a final ruling announced by the Department of Labor in September 2017, the hourly minimum wage for employees performing work on or in connection with federal contracts will be raised as of January 1, 2019. For organizations covered by Executive Order 13658, the new rates will be $10.60/hour (from $10.35/hour) and $7.40/hour (from $7.25/hour) for tipped employees.
Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it is creating a new sub-office tasked with helping businesses comply with more than 100 safety, wage, and benefit laws the Department administers. The office will be labeled as the Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) and will work with the DOL’s enforcement-focused sub-agencies on compliance outreach activities. In addition, the agency will develop new ways to use data to strengthen compliance and help enforce the law.
Ondray Harris, Director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance (OFCCP), will be stepping down from that position effective Friday, July 27, according to Bloomberg News. Mr. Harris was appointed to this position in December 2017.
On July 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau announced that grants ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 would be awarded to as many as six recipients under the WANTO grant program. Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (“WANTO”) is a technical assistance grant program available to eligible Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) who apply as a single applicant or as part of a consortium of CBOs. The purpose of the program is to encourage employers and labor unions to employ women in industries where women have traditionally been underrepresented, or concentrated in lower-paying jobs, such as manufacturing or IT, by: