In our last update on the proposed Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities regulations, we discussed the delayed publication of the final rules as compared to OFCCP’s planned release date of April 2013. The recently published Spring 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions suggests that the target date for publication of the Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities final rules in July of 2013. If that was true, the promulgation of the regulations would be imminent. However, it isn’t.
A realistic assessment of the federal rulemaking process suggests that this target date—much like previous target dates of April 2013 and July 2012—is hardly set in stone. Final rules such as these require final review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs prior to publication in the Federal Register. Executive Order 12866 requires this review to be completed within 90 days, but the review period may be extended by either the OMB Director or the head of the rulemaking agency (in this case, OFCCP). While no minimum review period is required, the practical requirements for reviewing extensive regulatory items (such as these two final rules) mean the review period typically takes weeks, if not months. As of July 9, OMB has not received the final rules from OFCCP, so it may be assumed that publication of these regulations is highly unlikely to occur in July.
Ultimately, when the rules are approved in their final form, they will be published in the Federal Register and may be implemented on whatever timeframe the agency determines. At that time, DCI will be offering guidance for the contractor community on how to implement the required compliance changes.
Relatedly, the EEOC is also planning to revise their rules on disability discrimination, as noted in the agenda. Due to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing information-sharing between the EEOC and OFCCP, it is reasonable to assume that there will be some impact on federal contractors. This impact will become clearer after the target NPRM publication date in October 2013.
The agenda also included an update on an NPRM from the Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training that would propose: a) rescinding the part 61-250 regulations which establish the VETS-100 reporting obligation; and b) revising the part 61-300 regulations, which establish the VETS-100A reporting obligation, to require contractors to report the number of employees and new hires that are covered veterans. The target date for publication of the NPRM is now August 2013. This means that the revised reporting obligations will not impact the 2013 VETS-100/VETS-100A filing cycle, but might be implemented prior to the 2014 filing cycle.
In the meantime, check here for the latest on relevant regulatory updates and proposed changes.
by Jana Garman, M.A., Associate Consultant and Fred Satterwhite, M.S., Principal Consultant, DCI Consulting Group