Affirmative Action Plan Preparation: Tips & Tricks from the Experts

After January 1, the next most popular plan date contractors use is July 1. While our recommendation...

Posted by Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant on May 20 2021
Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
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After January 1, the next most popular plan date contractors use is July 1. While our recommendations for pulling your data apply to whatever plan date you have, there are additional considerations for July 1, especially this year. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to gather your July 1, 2021 data:

  1. Ensure all personnel actions that occurred in previous 12 months have been entered. Often, promotions, hires, or terminations that occurred most recently take a little while to enter into your system. You may need to remind managers to enter the transactions by a certain date.

    Excel tip – sort the date column by most recent to be sure all of the correct transactions are included.
  2. If anyone did not self ID for race or gender, try to provide a visual identification.

    Excel tip – filter your race column to show records with a blank, unknown, or chose not to identify. This is also a good way to make sure all races are captured. Don’t see anyone with Hispanic in this column? Maybe there’s a separate field that captures Ethnicity that needs to be pulled as well!
  3. Make sure the Roster snapshot/point in time information is accurate. If you have a July 1, 2021 plan date, the Roster needs to show the point-in-time snapshot of your workforce before the workday starts on July 1. Therefore, anyone who terminated on June 30th, 2020 or started on July 1, 2021 should not be included. However, if someone terminated on July 1, 2021, they should be in the Roster. Similarly, if someone received a promotion on July 1, 2021, the job listed in the Roster should be the job they had at the start of the day on July 1, 2021.

    Excel tip – if you know of a promotion that occurred between July 1, 2021 and when you pull the data, spot check the employee’s record.
  4. Remind hiring managers and recruiters to review their requisitions where an external hire was made in the previous 12 months. The requisitions need to be closed, show there was an applicant pool, and the disposition reasons are accurate.

    Tip – if you are able to pull applicant data by “Close Date”, rather than the date an applicant applied, you’ll be more likely to have the entire applicant pool needed.
  5. Know where you posted jobs and did outreach so it can be added to the narrative. Find out if those sources were effective so you can do a proper outreach assessment. Know when and how you evaluated personnel processes as well as your mental and physical job qualifications. Find out how many jobs were opened and how many were filled in the previous 12 months for your utilization analysis.
  6. Check if any establishments went above or below 50 employees from last year. Even though work location isn’t always required, it is extremely helpful for this determination if you are able to provide it in your tables.

    Excel tip – run a pivot table on work location to count the number of employees in each location.
  7. Begin to think about your availability settings. What geographical areas do you typically recruit from? What jobs could typically promote to higher level jobs based on typical career progression? What percentage of the time would you look externally vs internally for each job group? You may not know the answers to this right away, and your Berkshire consultant will guide you through this step, but it’s helpful if you already have some ideas in mind!

    Tip – Employee zip codes, in addition to work locations, are helpful for this determination if you are able to provide it.


Other considerations:

Do you develop a July 1 Mid-Year Monitoring Report?

Items 1-5 above are still relevant, although you’re only concerned with the previous 6 months of data! Items 6 & 7 can be ignored since we are measuring the mid-year progress since your January 1 annual plan.

Note, although you won’t receive a new narrative, item 5 above should still be completed. If you are more than 6 months into your plan when a OFCCP Scheduling Letter is received, the agency will ask for evaluations and assessments covering 18 months.

Do you use your July 1 data for compensation analysis?

Just like Items 1 and 3 above, be sure any pay changes have been entered with the appropriate date and you’re capturing the correct information. If your mid-year pay changes go into effect on July 1st, think about if the goal is to analysis your compensation prior to or after these changes; you may need to pull the data differently depending on the answer.

Do you use your July 1 data for VETS-4212 reporting?

Since the reporting period for VETS-4212 reporting can be any time between July 1 and August 31, save time by using the same data! This means you should be sure you have gathered Protected Veteran status for all current employees as well as any new hires from the previous 12 months. You will also need to be sure each employee and new hire has a work location identified. Remember, your VETS-4212 establishments may or (most likely) may not be the same as your plans. According to the DOL VETS-4212 site:

“Multiple establishment employers are those employers doing business at more than one hiring location.  In addition to filing a completed VETS-4212 Report covering the principal or headquarters office, these employers must: File a separate VETS-4212 Report for each hiring location or state consolidated for each state employing 50 or more persons…”
“In addition to filing a completed VETS-4212 Report covering the principal or headquarters office, and separate VETS-4212 Reports for each hiring location within one state employing 50 or more persons, multiple establishment employers must either: File a separate report for each hiring location…or File state consolidated reports that cover hiring locations within one state that have fewer than 50 employees…”

Visit the VETS-4212 site for helpful FAQs regarding filing your reports.


Any plan after April 1, 2021 will now have the special circumstance of covering an entire year of the pandemic. Some unusual activity might have been captured in last year’s plan since we didn’t know how long any of it would continue at the time!

Did you have a hiring freeze? Did you have furloughs or RIFs? Have you brought employees back already? Depending on your industry, maybe you increased business in the prior year and had an unusually high number of job postings. Maybe your external recruitment areas have expanded, allowing for remote workers across the country. These are all things that should be considered and discussed with your Berkshire consultant so we can ensure your AAP reflects the workforce accurately.

Since plans covering the pandemic are just now starting to be scheduled for audits, we are still learning how OFCCP will handle any unusual personnel activities that occurred during this time frame. However, we believe since all employers faced unprecedented times, the agency will take unusual circumstances into account during their desk audits.

As always, Berkshire consultants will walk clients through these considerations as we review your data. Finally, as a reminder, our recommendation is to submit your data as soon as possible after your plan date! As soon as you are sure all personnel actions have been entered, and as soon as you are able to run your reports, please send us the data! It will be your 4th of July gift to us!

Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
Lauren Buerger, SHRM-SCP, HR Consultant
Lauren Buerger is an HR Consultant with over five years of experience at Berkshire. She specializes in helping federal contractors comply with affirmative action regulations and developing AAPs and educating clients.

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