Many companies have wrestled with the issue of which AAP(s) should include employees who work from home, at client sites, or other at non-traditional sites. OFCCP recently issued a set of Frequently Asked Questions to answer some of these questions and can be found on the OFCCP website.
Which AAP Should My Remote Employee Belong To?
We know that all employees must be included in an AAP, but which AAP? The answer is simple for establishments with 50 or more employees. There must be an AAP covering that establishment. If a company has only one site, that is also easy – a single AAP. However, as the workplace has evolved to include workers in home offices, vendor sites, secure/confidential government sites, etc. it is more difficult to determine how to include these employees in a traditional, establishment-based AAP. While there are no regulations specifically addressing remote or teleworkers, the regulations describe options for including employees in AAPs.
Those options cover:
- Employees at establishments with less than 50 employees – there are three options:
- Develop an AAP for the establishment regardless of headcount
- Include the employees in the AAP that provides their HR support
- Include the employees in the AAP of their manager
- Employees who work at establishments different from their manager
- These employees must be included in the AAP of their manager
- Employees for whom selection decisions are made at a higher-level establishment
- These employees must be included in the AAP where the selection decision is made
If employees could be included in more than one AAP under the requirements above, the employer gets to choose where to include them. More information about these regulations (41 CFR 60‐2.1(d)(1), 41 CFR 60‐2.1(d)(2) and 41 CFR 60‐2.1(d) (3)) is available in the electronic version of the regulations.
Let's Get Specific
Here are some examples which might be helpful:
- Include a remote or telework employee in the AAP that covers the management to whom they report. For example, an employee who works remotely out of an office in Washington, DC, for a manager in New York, could be included in the New York AAP.
- Include a remote or telework employee in the AAP of the establishment where his or her selection decision was made. For example, an employee who was selected by corporate headquarters in Seattle, WA, to run an office in Portland, OR, could be included in the Seattle AAP.
- Include a remote or telework employee in the AAP that covers the location of the personnel function that supports the employee. For example, if a manager who works from home in Columbus, OH, has four employees who work from home in various locations across Missouri and Ohio, and they are supported by a personnel function in Chicago, IL, the manager and employees could all be included in the Chicago AAP.
A Word about Annotations
The Organizational Profile (Workforce Analysis or Organizational Display) must be annotated to show the actual work location of remote employees who are included in the AAP. If an employee works from home, the city and state will suffice. Functional AAPs make the decision easier because AAPs are organized around business functions and not physical work locations. For more information about whether a functional AAP is a good fit, visit the requirements on OFCCP’s website.
How to Identify your Reasonable Recruitment Areas
Once you've decided which AAP your remote employee belongs to, it's important that you assign the correct reasonable recruitment area (RRA). The reasonable recruitment area is a component of the External Availability Factor. External availability is weighted as one of the components of overall availability. Overall availability is compared to the current incumbency to determine if a placement goal must be set. So, where recruitment is geographical conducted is a very important part of an AAP.
According to the OFCCP’s Supply and Service Contractors Technical Assistance Guide, the RRA is defined as the geographical area from which the employer usually seeks or could reasonably seek qualified applicants to fill positions. This may be the county, metropolitan statistical area, state, region, or the entire United States. RRA should be set for each job group in each AAP.
While you should review your RRAs every year as you prepare your plan, you may not have needed to make many adjustments in previous years. However, in your next plan year you should give your RRAs more scrutiny if you will have jobs that will now be fully remote. If there are jobs within the job group that now can be recruited from and filled anywhere in the United States, your RRA should account for that. You may need to make the United States the whole of the RRA or a significant percentage of it.
One consideration, however, is if your employees will be working in a hybrid situation. Hybrid arrangements are where an employee works part of their week in the on-site and part remotely. If this is the case, recruitment areas would likely need to stay focused in the geographic area of the physical building location and not necessarily the whole United States as employees would need to be close to the building for the days they come into the office.
Applicant pools should look like the areas where the recruitment is happening. If changes are made to the recruitment areas to include the United States, be sure to scrutinize the pools in the mid-year and end of year monitoring for that proper reflection of the areas. Additional recruitment partners may be necessary to engage with to help achieve the effective outreach in these new recruitment areas.
Recruitment and hiring strategies should always be considered in the development of an affirmative action plan. If your company is undergoing a shift that allows a broader definition of where work can get done and therefore where recruitment will happen, it is important to review your reasonable recruitment areas this year to match those changes.