The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that OFCCP’s proposed new rule to strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 will be published in the December 9 edition of the Federal Register.
According to an OFCCP news release, the proposed rule would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. OFCCP says establishing a 7 percent hiring goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities would be a tool for contractors to measure the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts and thereby inform their decision-making.
OFCCP also says the proposed regulatory changes detail specific actions contractors must take in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping and policy dissemination – similar to those that have long been required to promote workplace quality for women and minorities.
This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “President Obama has demonstrated a commitment to people with disabilities. This proposed rule would help federal contractors better fulfill their legal responsibility to hire qualified workers with disabilities.”
“For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a ‘good faith’ effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly, that’s not working,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Our proposal would define specific goals, require real accountability and provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law. What gets measured gets done. And we’re in the business of getting things done.”
According to the OFCCP news release, the proposed rule also would enhance data collection and record-keeping requirements — including for documentation and processing of requests for reasonable accommodation — in order to improve accountability. Additionally, it would ensure annual self-reviews of employers’ recruitment and outreach efforts, and add a new requirement for contractors to list job openings to increase their pools of qualified applicants.
For more information: “US Labor Department Seeks To Improve Job Opportunities For Americans With Disabilities By Setting Historic Hiring Goal For Federal Contractors And Subcontractors,” OFCCP News Release.