In the last 18 months the federal contractor community has experienced more changes in regulations and additional Executive Orders than ever before. As most contractors are preparing to update their affirmative action plans (AAP), they should be aware of all of the changes and new requirements which make updating this year’s AAP more challenging than ever. Contractors not working with a knowledgeable expert risk finding themselves in a nightmare scenario from which it will be very expensive to exit.
To detail all of the changes would make this article into a thesis, listed below is a recap of the most recent changes with the most pertinent points. There are additional details that this recap does not cover. For clarification or additional information, please contact PMP’s Affirmative Action Compliance Department.
- Regulations effective since March 24, 2014 – Put greater emphasis on Protected Veterans and IWD outreach, self-identification, etc.
- Contractors must request voluntary self-identification as “Protected Veteran and/or “Individual with Disability” (IWD) from applicants and new hires. For IWD identification, the OFCCP issued form must be used.
- Resurvey workforce for IWD status within the first year of being subject to the regulations (using OFCCP issued form)
- Established a 7% hiring benchmark for Protected Veterans
- Established a 7% utilization goal for IWD per job group for contractors with 100 or more employees (for those with fewer than 100 employees, the goal is 7% for the entire workforce)
- Additional data collection is required for these two categories using the applicant flow data
- Regulation effective since October 14, 2014 – Revised OFCCP audit letter increased items for submission from 11 to 22.
- Greater emphasis on compensation and how starting salaries are determined, as well as bonuses and overtime criteria
- Data required on contractor’s outreach efforts and results for Protected Veterans and IWD
- Analysis of Applicant vs. Hire will now be conducted by each individual race (vs. all others) rather than “minority vs. non-minority”
- Executive Order #13665 – Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information (Effective 1/11/2016)
- Requires posting as well as distribution of OFCCP language on this regulation
- Language must be made part of handbook or employee manual
- Applicants and employees must be made aware of this via the required paragraph being displayed or distributed electronically
- “EEO is the Law” poster will soon be updated but in the meantime the current poster plus the supplement should be posted on bulletin boards and on career website
- Contracts must include this language
- If Unionized, the union must be sent the language
- Executive Order #13672 – Prohibits discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Update all policies where EEO statements list protected statuses to include these two protected statuses
- Advise Union (if applicable) of updated language
- Executive Order #13658 – Increased minimum wage. Effective 1/1/2016 the rate is $10.15 for those working 20% of the time or greater on government contracts (subject to certain criteria)
- Executive Order #13706 – Paid Sick Leave becomes effective 1/1/2017 – PMP will make more details available as soon as they are released.
Most contractors have reached the conclusion that trying to remain compliant without outside assistance from a knowledgeable consultant who specializes in OFCCP regulations has become impossible. Dealing with a consultant for assistance with your affirmative action compliance should not be an expensive venture. A good consultant can review in detail what policies need to be updated, what should be on your bulletin boards, and what needs to be available to applicants on your website. If 2015 was any indication, should you be audited, you can expect it to be a long and drawn out process. You will be asked for far more data than ever before along with a long telephone conference on your compensation policies and procedures. It is prudent for contractors to conduct a pay equity analysis now, before the OFCCP dives into your data.
Applicant flow remains an area where the OFCCP continues to achieve high financial settlements. Not knowing how to correctly identify an “applicant” vs. a job seeker, having too small or too large of an applicant pool, and not having good documentation will sink you every time during an audit. To assist contractors in navigating this tricky road, PMP is conducting a workshop on Wednesday, March 16. Visit http://www.pmphr.com/Job-Seeker-or-Applicant.html for more details.
No doubt that being a federal contractor is more of a challenge. It will take far more time and effort to remain compliant. PMP is here to help. PMP offers our readers a free “Checklist of 2016 Compliance with Regulatory Changes” which can assist contractors in navigating the treacherous sea of recent OFCCP regulations and Executive Orders. Please contact Grace Conti for your free copy at gconti@pmpHR.com.
PMP offers cost-effective support for federal contractors. PMP is very proud of its exceptional record of successfully closed OFCCP audits. Partner with PMP to assure your compliance before the OFCCP comes knocking at your door!