The OFCCP makes more substantive updates to its website.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has added two new sets of Frequently Asked Questions to its website. The first addresses compliance checks, and the second involves apprenticeship programs.
The OFCCP recently announced that it was re-instituting the compliance check, which is an abbreviated type of compliance evaluation. Of the 3,500 establishments on the latest Corporate Scheduling Announcement List, 500 are slated for compliance checks. If a contractor receives a compliance check scheduling letter, it will be asked to provide (1) prior year affirmative action plan results; (2) job advertisements, including listings with the state employment service; and (3) examples of accommodations provided to individuals with a disability. In its FAQs, the OFCCP clarifies what “prior year AAP results” means:
- For Executive Order 11246, the OFCCP expects the report on goals for females and minorities and the good-faith efforts “to remove barriers and expand employment opportunities for those groups.”
- For Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and for the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, the OFCCP will review documentation of the contractor’s assessments of the effectiveness of external outreach and recruitment efforts.
The OFCCP also says that the compliance check will not result in a mandatory onsite visit. Contractors have the option of submitting the requested information to the agency offsite.
Contractors should remember that the OFCCP has proposed changes to the compliance check scheduling letter that would require more detailed information to be submitted, such as the entire written AAPs and requests for accommodations, including whether they were granted or denied. If those changes are approved, the OFCCP will need to update its new FAQs.
Since the early days of the Trump Administration and the appointment of Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor, the OFCCP has encouraged contractors to use apprenticeship programs. The OFCCP has now added a set of FAQs to its website that address apprenticeship programs and federal contractors. The introduction notes,
OFCCP encourages all contractors to sponsor apprenticeship programs. The following FAQs are provided to assist contractors in understanding how sponsoring apprenticeship programs can benefit both contractors and employees and how apprenticeship programs can support contractors’ efforts to promote equal employment opportunity.
The FAQs explain what apprenticeship programs are, as well as why contractors should consider using them:
Well‐designed and appropriately executed apprenticeship programs provide employers and employees multiple benefits. First and foremost, apprenticeship programs provide employees with requisite skills to serve in their chosen industry and provide their employers with a highly skilled workforce. These programs can also greatly increase retention of employees and lower various costs such as training. Federal contractors may also use apprenticeship programs as an additional avenue to increase outreach and recruitment efforts, thus expanding applicant pools toward the goal of compliance with equal employment opportunity obligations.
Additional FAQs involve inclusion of the programs in AAPs and how such programs can help contractors meet outreach efforts for individuals with a disability and protected veterans. The OFCCP also notes that individuals in apprenticeship programs are generally considered “employees” of the contractor and therefore should be included in AAPs. However, where another entity sponsors or directs the apprenticeship program, the contractor may not be in an employment relationship with the workers. Contractors should review these situations individually to determine whether the workers are employees who should be included in their AAPs.
The OFCCP also provides a list of best practices for contractors that use apprenticeship programs. These include the following:
- Informing applicants and employees of apprenticeship opportunities. This may be done using existing systems for notices and routine distribution of information to applicants or employees.
- Developing recruitment and outreach efforts for the apprenticeship program that will reach a diverse pool of candidates.
- Implementing mentorship and support programs, as companions to the apprenticeship program, designed to increase retention of employees and provide ongoing skill development.
Check out the OFCCP’s website to keep up to date on the latest developments.
Our Affirmative Action Alert blog focuses on the latest news and topics affecting federal contractors and subcontractors and their compliance with affirmative action and other employment-related laws and regulations. With breaking news, quick updates, and headlines on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and affirmative action issues, this blog is a great resource for in-house counsel, HR managers, and other compliance professionals. Our blog is a companion to Constangy’s Affirmative Action newsletters, which address significant legislative, regulatory, and administrative proposals and changes. Subscribe to both to stay current on these important topics!