The latest buzz – not surprisingly – revolves around the long-awaited OFCCP veteran and disability regulations.  We already blogged about our initial observations of the new Section 503 regulations, now it’s time to focus on the new veterans regulations…

Like the new Section 503 regulations, the new veterans regulations create additional data obligations for employers.  More specifically, we will be required to collect and analyze:

  1. The number of applicants who self-identified as protected veterans;
  2. The total number of job openings and total number of jobs filled;
  3. The total number of applicants for all jobs;
  4. The number of protected veteran applicants hired; and,
  5. The total number of applicants hired.

This information must be kept for three years.

The second biggest change is a new “hiring benchmark” – the Agency was careful not to call it a “goal” – based on either the national average of working veterans (currently at 8%) or the employer’s own analysis of an appropriate benchmark given its location, track records on recruitment and hiring of veterans, and other factors.  Of course, an employer’s “benchmark” is subject to OFCCP review, so information on all factors considered and calculations must be retained for the three-year period. 

In addition, for the first time, employers must solicit and track the veteran status of applicants.  The new veterans regulations include a “Sample Invitation(s) to Self-Identify” employers may use (compared to, under the new Section 503 regulations, the form OFCCP will provide employers must use to request applicants to self-identify as disabled).  Therefore, employers may create their own veteran self-ID forms, but the forms should reflect the veteran definitions created by the new regulations, including the general term “Protected Veteran” and specific catgeories “Active Duty or Wartime Campaign Badge Veteran” (replacing “Other Protected Veteran”) and “Pre-JVA Veteran.”   

There are other new requirements as well, including a new EO clause, record retention obligations, tagline for job postings and advertisements, and obligations regarding disclosing and providing OFCCP access to company records during audits.  In addition, the new regulations rescind Part 250, so all employers will report on only the VETS-100A, not VETS-100, Reports each year.

The new regulations will become effective 180 days after they are published in the Federal Register – likely in the spring of 2014.  Notably, the most significant changes to the regulations (those involving AAP requirements in Subpart C) take effect with employer’s AAP cycle following the effective date. 

We are hosting complimentary webcasts this fall to delve deeper into the new regulations.  Stay tuned for more blog postings on specific issues that catch our eye and raise questions for employers.