How to Disclose a Disability

iStock_000002830564XSmallDisclosing a disability when in the midst of a job search is a complex decision. While some disabilities are clearly visible, others are not. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against prospective job applicants with a disability, statistics show that the percentage of disabled people who are unemployed in spite of the law, has not decreased significantly.  The revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that went into effect March 24, 2014, holds federal contractors accountable for 7% utilization goal for candidates with disabilities.  This is a lofty goal federal contractor will need to aspire to.  This should give candidates with disabilities enormous confidence about increased job opportunities in the near and distant future. Another component of the new regulations is that it allows employers to ask candidates to voluntarily disclose their disabilities by using an OFCCP approved form.    Here are some things to consider if you have decided to disclose your disability:

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New Executive Order on Paid Sick Leave in the Works

The New York Times reported that President Obama has drafted an executive order that applies to federal contractors and sub-contractors. It states that any company that does business with the federal government is to issue paid leave to employees. This will benefit workers who are sick, are seeking medical attention or need to care for a sick relative.

Paid sick leave divides the American Labor market. Among the highest 10 percent of earners, 86 percent of employees have paid sick leave, while among the lowest 10 percent, just 22 percent have it, said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

This Executive Order would make the sixth employment-related executive action impacting federal contractors in the past 18 months.  The others include:

  • Federal Minimum Wage
  • Pay Transparency
  • LGBT
  • Equal Pay Report
  • Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces

This new executive order would set a minimum of about seven days paid sick leave and is broad in scope. It covers not just an employee’s illness but also caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner “or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Additionally, sick leave would also comprise a worker’s being away from work due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. If that time was used to seek medical attention or obtain counseling that would count as well. Employers would be ordered to allow unused paid leave to accrue, year after year.

Detailed regulations will be issued by the Labor secretary by September 30, 2016.

NILG 2015 Key Takeaways

The 33rd Industry Liaison Group National Conference 2015, in New York, July 29-July 31, celebrated “Onward and Upward: Building the Future of Compliance.” For the first time, representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collaborated on panels to discuss pay equity, gender identity, background checks and other major issues that impact equal employment opportunity.

Industry experts educated attendees on several topics of current importance:

Recruitment

Compensation

Disability and Veteran Outreach

Job Steering

LGBT

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OFCCP Compliance and Third Party Services

As a federal contractor, it is very important to have a comprehensive good faith effort in your hiring program in support of OFCCP compliance. The first order of business for federal contractors is to list all their jobs in national job sites and/or post them in social media sites and also make it accessible through mobile phone applications. The idea is that such jobs should reach every nook and corner of the society so that they are accessible to all job seekers including minorities, women, veterans and the disabled. In addition, one has to post these jobs in specific niche job sites catering to the above groups. For VEVRAA, these jobs must be sent to One-Stop Centers and posted to state job sites.

Posting to national job sites could cost as much as $400 per job and posting to the niche websites could cost almost $200 a job. So it can add up very quickly. Additionally, posting to the state job systems, especially if you have multiple states to cover, as well maintaining updated lists of Community Based Organizations and One-Stop Centers can be very time consuming and labor intensive. It could also turn costly if you need personnel to manage all of this book-keeping.

A better alternative does exist. Third party providers such as America’s Job Exchange (AJE) can provide such services at a much cheaper rate. What’s especially appealing is apart from keeping costs low they also provide more expertise, efficiency and an understanding of how the process works. Third parties like AJE have over the years developed state-of-the-art web platform, job distribution technology and search methodologies. They are also intertwined in the ecosystem in a way that enables them to form enriching partnerships with niche job sites, community organizations and employment agencies which allows them to get jobs posted at a much cheaper rate. In addition, most of the third party providers have in-house specialists who can advise in specific scenarios when special support is needed and have engineers who are domain experts. Most importantly, like any business, when a third party does the same thing over and over again for a variety of customers, they gain certain efficiency over time just from the repetitive process.
To top it all, vendors like America’s Job Exchange can provide live customer service and assistance in the event of an audit by providing pertinent data, reports and expertise to navigate the audit process.

The tasks are huge and the costs are substantial, so getting help from a third-party provider is highly beneficial. We encourage you to reach out to us and see for yourself how we can assist you!

Important Government Initiatives in 2015 to Assist Veterans (Part 2)

Veterans’ Economic Communities Initiative

Earlier this year, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, with leaders from national and local veterans’ service organizations, corporate employers and government agencies, announced the launch of the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI), an effort focused in a total of 25 U.S. cities to promote economic success for veterans. The initiative is part of MyVA, which is dedicated to making veterans the center of all we do.

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