It’s “What’s Up? Wednesday”. Time to talk about AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLANS . . .

You asked: “How do we know if we need an Affirmative Action Plan?

Your question is very timely! As you may know, a critical deadline is fast approaching for companies with federal contracts. More on that later. First, you need to know if you are obligated to maintain an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP).

In general, companies that have some kind of federal government contract or subcontract may be required to have an AAP, depending on the details of the contract. Typically, federal contracts are for the sale of supplies or services to the federal government or to buy or lease them from the government.

What is an AAP? According to the United States Department of Labor, For federal contractors and subcontractors, affirmative action must be taken by covered employers to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps. These procedures should be incorporated into the company’s written personnel policies. Employers with written affirmative action programs must implement them, keep them on file and update them annually.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your company is required to have an AAP it may be an indication that you don’t need one. If you were required to do so, you should have been notified both orally and verbally when you entered into your federal government contract or subcontract. That being said, of course it isn’t that simple!

Here are some guidelines to help you determine if you must have an AAP:

Contractor qualifications

Protected groups

Requirements

One or more contracts totaling $10,000 or more

Women and minorities

Individuals with disabilities

No written AAP required, however you are required to follow non-discrimination rules

50 employees and a single contract totaling $50,000 or more

Women and minorities

Individuals with disabilities

Veterans

Written AAP required for each employer location

50 employees and government bills of lading in a 12-month period totaling $50,000 or more

Women and minorities

Written AAP required for each employer location

Single contract totaling $100,000 or more dated or modified AFTER 12/1/2003 or a single contract totaling $25,000 or more dated BEFORE 12/1/2003

Veterans

Required to follow non-discrimination rules (if contractor has 50 employees, a written AAP is also required)

If you fit into any of the above categories, you are legally required to comply within 120 days after entering into a contract or subcontract with the federal government.

On March 24, 2014, two new rules from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) go into effect. Created to improve employment opportunities for protected veterans and qualified workers with disabilities, these changes include:

 1.   Amendments to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) will make affirmative action requirements more specific and require contractors to establish benchmarks to measure progress toward affirmative action goals. It will also require federal contractors to maintain several quantitative measurements comparing the number of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans actually hired. Additionally, job listings must be provided in a format that the appropriate state employment agency can access and use to make the job available.

2. Changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, protecting individuals with disabilities, require contractors to invite applicants and incumbent employees to self-identify as an individual with a disability. It will also require federal contractors to maintain several quantitative measurements comparing the number of individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs and the number of those actually hired.

Both of these amendments also require prime contractors to include specific, mandated language in subcontracts to alert subcontractors to their responsibility as federal contractors.

Contractors with AAPs in place on March 24 may maintain them until the end of their current AAP year. However, they must comply with the new rules at the start of their next AAP year.

For more information about AAPs or for compliance assistance, contact the OFCCP’s regional or district offices.

For any other HR issues, please send your questions and comments to hrhelpline@eastcoastrm.com.

This entry was posted in Human Resources and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.