The revised affirmative action regulations relating to protected veterans (VEVRAA) and individuals with disabilities (Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act) take effect in less than a month. In spite of efforts made by the OFCCP to lessen the confusion surrounding the new requirements through resources such as FAQs and webinars, several points remain hazy.
One major area of concern, discussed here, involves the data collection analysis requirements of the new regulations (VEVRAA: 41 CFR § 60-300.44(k); Section 503: 41 CFR § 60-741.44(k)). This analysis requires contractors to document (and maintain for three years) the following data points:
- The number of applicants who self-identify as protected veterans/individuals with disabilities
- The total number of job openings and total number of jobs filled
- The total number of applicants for all jobs
- The number of protected veterans/individuals with disabilities hired
- The total number of applicants hired
Contractors will be required to use these data points as one of the criteria for conducting an annual self-assessment of the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts required by section 44(f). According to a VEVRAA FAQ sheet released by the OFCCP, the data collection analysis will serve to fill a “data void” that will allow contractors to “assess the effectiveness of [their] outreach and recruitment efforts at attracting protected veteran candidates.”
The question that arises is how exactly contractors will utilize these data points to make inferences about the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts. For example, how will contractors utilize the “total number of jobs filled,” which includes both competitive and non-competitive job placements to evaluate outreach and recruitment efforts? This data point combines competitive hires with non-competitive movements such as transfers, non-competitive promotions, and re-assignments. We are left wondering how this data is useful in assessing the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts under the new regulations.
In an OFCCP webinar dated February 6, 2014, regulatory analyst Leo Lestino attempted to alleviate concerns surrounding data collection analysis during the transitional AAP period (the period covered by the first AAP after March 24, 2014 that contractors will develop under the new regulations):
“Contractors will not be cited for noncompliance with the requirements of subpart C, including having the 44(k) data, in the transitional AAP as long as you acknowledge the new requirement and that you tell us that you have begun to take steps to come into compliance.”
While this may sound reassuring to contractors scrambling to come into compliance,the question still remains on how to use these data in assessing the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts. We will continue to provide additional guidance related to the analysis and reporting requirements as we learn more. Stay tuned!
by Dave Sharrer, M.S., Associate Consultant and Rachel Gabbard, M.A., HR Analyst, DCI Consulting Group