Should my company participate in Public Comment on OFCCP’s Proposed Rule Changes?

The answer without question is yes. Why? Because it’s easy and if you don’t speak up now, some of the changes that the OFCCP is proposing will significantly change how you go about ensuring your company is OFCCP compliant. The federal government has set up a site called Regulations.gov – “Your Voice in Federal Decision Making”…here is how they describe this site: Regulations.gov is your source for regulations and other related documents issued by the U.S. government. Through this site, you can find, read and comment on documents. Regulations.gov is committed to:

  • Increasing access to and participation in developing regulations and other related documents that can impact you
  • Promoting more efficient and effective rulemaking through public involvement

Regulations.gov allows you to view rules and other proposed regulatory documents, submit comments, submit an application, petition, or adjudication document, read others comments, view final rules, and view the regulatory agendas that list regulations that each agency plans to issue. Essentially the federal government has created a way for anyone in the U.S. to make his or her voice heard regarding changes in federal mandates.

In 2010 the OFCCP issues a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and this spring, this proposal was published in the Federal Register. There are a number of critical points that all federal contractors and subcontractors should be aware of. Please visit the link below to see all the proposed changes, but there are three of these points we feel deserve special attention. http://frwebgate2.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=h4hhOw/0/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve First, federal contractors would be required to enter into linkage agreements and establish ongoing relationships with the Local Veterans’ Employment Representative in the local employment service office nearest the contractor’s establishment. This means that as a federal contractor a member of your compliance team would have to legally connect with each and every Veteran’s representative in areas where you post jobs. Second, contractors would be required to enter into a linkage agreement with at least one of several other listed organizations and agencies for purposes of recruitment and developing training opportunities. The listed organizations and agencies are those that are listed in the current paragraph (f)(1), with one addition: The Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP), or any subsequent program that replaces TAP. This program is administered in part by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) in Family Services Offices or similar offices at military bases. (See http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/tap/tap_fs.htm) What type of agency is considered part of the local employment service delivery system?The employment service delivery system means the public employment offices established under the Wagner-Peyser Act, and known as the Employment Service, that provides a variety of labor exchange services including, but not limited to, job search assistance, job referral, placement assistance, re-employment services and recruitment services.

The Employment Service provides these services as part of the One-Stop service delivery system established by the Workforce Investment Act. The names of the agencies providing these services vary and may include the words “Employment Services,” “State Workforce Agency,” “Employment Security Commission,” “Job Service,” “Career Center,” “Workforce Center,” “One-Stop,” “Job Center,” or “Workforce Development Center.” Is there a particular way contractors must list employment openings with the appropriate employment delivery system?A contractor may satisfy the mandatory job listing requirement by using any means that is permitted by the appropriate employment delivery system for listing employment openings, which may include mail, facsimile (FAX), electronic mail, or other electronic postings.

The vast majority of the state workforce agency job banks accept job listings via the Internet. Contractors may use third parties, such as private or non-profit sector job banks, Internet gateway and portal sites, and recruiting services and directories, to assist them with the transmission of job listings to the appropriate employment service delivery system. However, a contractor remains responsible for complying with OFCCP’s job listing requirements. Third, paragraph (f)(1) would also require that the contractor consult the Employer Resources section of the National Resource Directory, a partnership with an online collaboration (http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/employment/job_services_and_employment_resources) among the Departments of Labor, Defense, and Veterans Affairs. New contractors and subcontractors often inquire about how they can find qualified protected veterans to comply with their AAP obligations. The National Resource Directory is a leading government Web site that provides prospective employers of veterans’ access to veterans’ service organizations, existing job banks of veterans seeking employment, and other resources at the national, state and local levels.

AJE is listed with this named resource. While each of these points is not too terrible in and of themselves, we have not even addressed the benchmarking and tracking that will also have to be done to prove that the affirmative action plans put in place to hire Protected Veterans are working. Bottom line…OFCCP will be looking for empirical proof that you are adding vets to your staff. Public comment will be accepted until June 27th and there are multiple ways to be sure your voice is heard. Remember, this is America…you have a voice – so use it.

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