The public comment period for OFCCP’s proposed rule to implement amendments to the affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) closed on March 28, 2006. OFCCP proposed this rule to implement changes made to VEVRAA by the 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA). The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for public comment on January 20, 2006 (71 Federal Register 3352-3371).
The good news for DCI clients is that OFCCP says that most of the provisions in the proposed rule are identical to the parallel provisions in the existing VEVRAA implementing regulations. The exceptions are where differences are required to implement the amendments made by the Jobs for Veterans Act.
DCI recommends that you review the proposed rule in its entirety to better understand the full scope of the proposed changes. However, there are three areas in the proposed rule where the requirements are significantly different from the existing VEVRAA regulations.
These areas are:
• The threshold contract amount
• Job listing requirement
• Changes in protected veteran category definitions
1. Threshold Contract Amount: The proposed rule applies to any Government contract or subcontract of $100,000 or more entered into on or after December 1, 2003. NOTE: the $100,000 is a single contract rate; contracts are not aggregated to reach the coverage threshold.
For contracts entered into before December 1, 2003, the current threshold of $25,000 in contracts under existing VEVRAA regulations would still apply. NOTE: A contractor with covered contracts entered into both before, and on or after December 1, 2003, would be subject to both the requirements found in the existing VEVRAA regulations and the requirements in the proposed rule.
2. Job Listing Requirement: Existing VEVRAA regulations permit contractors to satisfy their mandatory job listing requirement by listing job openings either with the local employment service or with the U.S. Department of Labor’s America’s Job Bank.
Under the proposed rule, however, contractors could not satisfy this requirement by listing their openings with America’s Job Bank. Instead, they would have to list their openings “with the appropriate service delivery system,” or in other words, with individual employment service offices.
NOTE: Both existing VEVRAA regulations and the proposed rule permit contractors to exclude from the mandatory listing requirement executive and senior management positions, positions that are to be filled with internal candidates, and positions lasting three days or fewer.
3. Changes in Protected Veteran Category Definitions: The 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act also changed the categories of covered veterans under VEVRAA.
(a) Disabled Veterans: The proposed rule implements the JVA expansion of coverage of veterans with disabilities to include all veterans with service- connected disabilities.
(b) Recently Separated Veterans: The proposed rule also implements the JVA coverage expansion of "recently separated veterans” from one to three years after discharge or release from active duty.
(c) Armed Services Medal Veteran: JVA added a new category of covered veteran – those “veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participate in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.”
(d) Vietnam Era veterans: The category of Vietnam era veterans was eliminated from coverage, although OFCCP notes they may remain covered in other categories. NOTE: No change was made to Other Protected Veterans that are “veterans who have served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.”
REMINDER: The proposed regulation implementing the 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act is still in the formal rulemaking stage. OFCCP is reviewing the comments it received from the public and will issue a final rule in the future. DCI will issue a client alert on the final regulation as soon it is released.