Although it had been in discussion for almost three years, the federal contracting community received quite a jolt when the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued its new scheduling letter on September 30, 2014. The revised scheduling letter, which hit mailboxes after October 15, 2014, increased the itemized listing from the original 11 data points to its current 22 data points. OUCH!
Not surprisingly, the letter has a strong emphasis on the regulations covering veterans and disabled individuals that became effective on March 24, 2014. For a copy of the new letter go to our website at http://www.pmphr.com/Affirmative-Action.
For federal contractors who have not been audited in the last two years, 2015 could be your year! OFCCP’s 2015 budget is geared to add more staff and increase monitoring of contractors in the coming year. OFCCP projects about 4,290 audits in 2015 with a focus on supply and service contractors and construction companies.
When updating your AAP after you are subject to the March 24, 2014 regulations, you must assure compliance with new data collection requirements, and with the new policies and procedures. This would probably be a good year to out-source your AAP preparation to assure that your AAP will contain all of the required language addressing the new regulations and will establish policies and procedures to address all of the required regulations. Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates’ Affirmative Action Compliance department is already working with many contractors whose plans renewed after March 24, 2014, to assure they are compliant with the new regulations, and are ready to correctly collect and submit the required data to successfully pass upcoming audits. Although the new scheduling letter has 22 itemized data requests, there are three essential areas that all federal contractors and subcontractors must address in order to be compliant and pass an OFCCP audit during 2015. Personnel action data is still part of the new audit letter but the three new areas below have not been part of prior audits:
VEVRRA and Section 503: a. How are you addressing the pre and post-offer voluntary data collection requirements and reporting? b. Have you established “relationships” with local veteran and disabled organizations that can assist you with the 7.2% hiring benchmark for veterans and the 7% utilization goal by job group (or if fewer than 100 employees of the entire workforce)? c. In what job groups do you have disability goals d. How will you address the evaluation of effectiveness of your outreach and recruitment efforts? e. Do you have a policy on reasonable accommodations and can you generate a list of any job seeker or employee who has requested an accommodation? f. Does your Purchase Order have the new, required paragraph addressing VEVRAA and Section 503 (in bold face)?
Job Descriptions: a. When was your most recent assessment of physical and mental qualifications? b. When is the next scheduled assessment?
Compensation: When was the last time you did a compensation equity study? If you have a calendar year AAP, it is recommended that you conduct a compensation analysis well before you update your plan. The compensation data submitted must now be as of the date of the workforce “snapshot” in your current AAP. Among the requested compensation data is: a. Base salary or wage rate, and hours worked in a typical workweek, b. Date of Hire, gender, race/ethnicity, job title, job groups, c. Other compensation or adjustments to salary such as bonuses, incentives, commissions, merit increases, locality pay or overtime
Of course, there are other additional requests which need to be submitted as part of the itemized list, too numerous to list here. Will these new regulations require additional staff or an increase in budget to assure compliance? The need for additional staff is quickly becoming a reality for federal contractors and subcontractors. It is prudent to review the requirements with your team and, for 2015, factor in additional time and budget to address compliance.
Although 2014 was a very aggressive enforcement year, PMP is very proud that all of our clients’ 2014 OFCCP audits resulted in successful closures. PMP works with companies to make a complicated process easy to understand and implement. PMP has developed a checklist for federal contractors and subcontractors to assist them with their compliance. Please call Grace Conti at 800-921-2195 for your free checklist or to discuss your compliance challenges.