On Monday, March 11, 2019, the Trump Administration released the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget, and OFCCP issued its FY2020 Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ). Every year, OFCCP’s CBJ provides a glimpse of the agency’s commitments and priorities for the year ahead. The highlights from this year’s publication are discussed below.
OFCCP requested $103.6M and 500 full-time employees for FY2020, which is rather flat in comparison to the FY2019 request and reflects the “doing more with less” attitude of Director Leen’s leadership. As part of a Department of Labor-wide initiative to modernize IT systems, OFCCP requested $2.5M to “develop the last phase of [technology] enhancements” that the agency promises will streamline approval processes, convert scanned documents into a format readable by computer, allow for remote staff to conduct work via mobile device, create a public portal to allow contractors to upload documents securely, as well as enable automated record retention. We expect these long-awaited updates to improve the working relationship between OFCCP and the contractor community, while affording the agency increased efficiency in conducting more audits in less time—for example, facilitating quicker responses from the agency after they complete an on-site review.
In keeping with OFCCP’s 2019 priorities, the agency pledges to continue the following:
- Emphasize four principles of certainty, efficiency, recognition of contractors, and transparency, in furtherance of the friendly-yet-firm tone that Director Leen has espoused since entering office.
- Focus on bad actors, “those contractors with the greatest risk of not following equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.”
- Give special attention to pay discrimination: “OFCCP anticipates about 40% of its discrimination conciliation agreements to address systemic pay discrimination by prioritizing review of pay-related employment practices including job steering.” Forty percent is certainly an aggressive number here, and this tells you that despite the generally contractor-friendly tone of the agency, they are taking pay equity enforcement seriously.
- Ramp up compliance checks and “narrowly tailored” focused reviews to ensure compliance is reached under specific legal authorities: Executive Order 11246, Section 503, and VEVRAA.
- This also applies to construction contractors, especially those with mega projects valued at $25M or more: “OFCCP expects about 85% of construction compliance evaluations to be associated with mega construction projects.” Given this commitment, we expect an uptick in compliance checks for construction contractors in FY2019 and FY2020.
- Implement AAP verification process to ensure baseline level of AAP compliance. More remains to be seen as to exactly how OFCCP will build this out operationally and their specific timeline for implementation.
- Develop internal certification program to guarantee staff is trained in a structured and consistent manner; continue compliance assistance programs.
- Hold more public industry-specific (e.g. legal, financial, technology) Town Hall activities to let contractors and advocacy organizations provide feedback to the agency.
- Recognize all-star contractors with the Excellence in Disability Inclusion (EDI) Award, in partnership with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP); and the Leadership in Equal Access and Diversity Award (LEAD), in partnership with the Women’s Bureau.
- Institute Voluntary Compliance Assistance Program (VCAP) that would allow contractors to self-select to undergo a corporate-wide audit that, if successful, would grant the contractor an exemption from compliance evaluations for a period of time.
Check back with us often to see how all of this plays out.
By Jeff Henderson, MPS, SHRM-SCP, Consultant, at DCI Consulting Group