As the effective date of the OFCCP Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations grows closer, federal contractors should begin preparing their personnel processes and data tracking systems to accommodate the new requirements for the solicitation of disability and veteran status. Contractors will be required to invite applicants to identify disability and veteran status pre-and post-offer, as well as their current workforce (disability status only). While it is important to begin planning for these changes now, it is advised that contractors DO NOT implement changes in their ATS to solicit disability and protected veteran information until the effective date of the regulations (i.e., March 24, 2014). Any data collected prior to this date may be in violation of the ADA.
OFCCP will be providing mandated language for the self-identification form required under Subpart C of Section 503. A draft form was previously published on the DOL website (but has since been removed) and is currently available on OMB's website. Based on this, and recent conversations in meetings with OMB and OFCCP, DCI anticipates that substantial changes will be made to the form. As there are only 4 months left before the “go-live” date, OFCCP is in a race against the clock to finalize this form.
Without a final form, contractors are placed in a difficult position to meet their compliance deadlines, especially if the next affirmative action plan cycle is in late spring or early summer 2014. To best meet your compliance obligations, DCI recommends the following:
- Contact your ATS and HRIS vendors now. Although we do not have the final disability self-identification form yet, you should start conversations regarding your data collection needs and deadlines. Vendors should be able to estimate associated costs and timelines without having the final form.
- Internally develop a detailed action plan that covers Subpart C, as well as the other requirements under Subparts A, B, D, and E. Document what changes will be made, when, and by whom. Regardless of plan date, this can prove useful in audit situations or in conversations with vendors.
- Stay connected to the release of new information from OFCCP (e.g., FAQs, Section 503 website) and other information sources (e.g., DCI client alerts and blog). New information on interpreting the regulations will continue to be released as further guidance is received through meetings with OFCCP and OMB over the coming weeks and months.
by Jana Garman, M.A., Associate Consultant and Amanda Shapiro, M.S., Consultant, DCI Consulting Group