Posts tagged Hurricane Harvey.

On the heels of the exemption for Hurricane Harvey contractors, and given the additional widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, the federal government has extended a deadline affecting federal contractors and subcontractors.

VETS-4212

The VETS-4212 report, which contractors must file annually between August 1 and September 30, has been extended this year for all contractors, regardless of location.  The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service posted on its website that contractors and subcontractors who file their VETS-4212 reports by November 15 will be considered timely.  This one-time, 45-day extension is due to the needs of those affected by the recent hurricanes.

HURRICANE IRMA NATIONAL INTEREST EXEMPTION FOR NEW CONTRACTS

As it did for Hurricane Harvey contractors previously, on September 7, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a another National Interest Exemption Memorandum providing a three-month exemption on preparing written affirmative action plans for a very specific group of contractors and subcontractors.

According to the FAQs, the exemption applies only to contractors who have signed or will sign a new supply and service or construction contract between September 1 and December 1, 2017, solely for the “specific purpose of providing Hurricane Irma relief” and who do not otherwise have to comply with the regulations.

Does this apply to everyone who has a contract to provide hurricane relief? 

No. The exemption applies only to those companies that become covered contractors by virtue of a new contract aimed solely at providing Irma relief.

Who is not covered?

Any contractor that is required to comply with the regulations based on a non-Irma relief contract (whether that contract be old or new).

Experts have estimated that it may cost as much as $180 billion to repair the damage done by Hurricane Harvey. With so much rebuilding to be done, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is temporarily waiving certain equal employment opportunity requirements to expedite Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The deputy director has the authority to waive any part of the EEO clause in a specific contract or group of contracts “when he deems that special circumstances in the national interest so require.”  (Scroll down to section (b)(1).)

On August 31, the Deputy Director of the OFCCP issued a memorandumtemporarily exempting contractors providing Hurricane Harvey relief assistance from developing written affirmative action programs. The exemption applies to the affirmative action programs required by Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. According to the memorandum, the EEO clauses in affected contracts may be modified to specify that “the contractor will not be obligated to develop the written affirmative action program required under the regulations implementing [EO11246, VEVRAA, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended].”

Although federal contractors providing Hurricane Harvey relief assistance will not have to develop written affirmative action programs, they will still be required to comply with other EEO requirements pertaining to record keeping, record retention, employment listings, and posting of the “Equal Opportunity is the Law” notice.

The affirmative action program exemption will last three months, but it may be extended “should special circumstances in the national interest so require.”

Our thoughts and prayers this holiday weekend go out to our friends and all the people of Texas and Louisiana who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

And our thanks to the heroic rescue personnel.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by Texas National Guard.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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