The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published new rules requiring federal contractors to adopt benchmarks for hiring certain groups of veterans in September 2013, which went into effect on March 24, 2014. These rules were updated in an effort to combat the jobless rate among certain veterans.
The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, an act prohibiting contractors and their subcontractors from discriminating against protected veterans when hiring, is directly affected by these updated rules. Some of the updates include:
- Hiring benchmarks: The new regulations require that contractors establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. Contractors must use one of two methods to establish their benchmarks. Contractors may choose to establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force or establish their own benchmarks using certain data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Veterans' Employment and Training Service/Employment and Training Administration (VETS/ETA) that is also published by OFCCP, as well other factors that reflect the contractor's unique hiring circumstances.
- Data collection: The new regulations require that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans they hire. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.
- Invitation to Self-Identify: The new regulations require that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process.
- Job Listings: The new regulations clarify that when listing their job openings, contractors must provide that information in a manner and format permitted by the appropriate State or local job service, so that it can access and use the information to make the job listings available to job seekers.
The new veteran benchmark rule applies to companies with at least $100,000 in federal contracts. If contractors don't meet those benchmarks or show that they are taking steps to do so, they could face penalties or have their contracts revoked.
"In a competitive job market, employers need access to the best possible employees," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a Department of Labor news release. "These rules make it easier for employers to tap into a large, diverse pool of qualified candidates."
Click here to learn more about these updates.