While Federal government contractors and subcontractors have long been responsible for developing affirmative action programs (AAPs), this is the first year they are required to certify their compliance online. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, has developed a portal where contractors must to certify by no later than June 30 that they have developed required AAPs. The portal may be accessed here.
Under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and their implementing regulations, government contractors and subcontractors with at least 50 employees and a government contract or subcontract of $50,000 or more are required to have AAPs focused on ensuring equal employment opportunities for women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. Pursuant to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, contractors and subcontractors with at least 50 employees and a contract or subcontract of at least $150,000 are required to have an AAP for veterans. Contractors and subcontractors are required to have AAPs in place within 120 days of commencing a contract and must update their AAPs annually.
OFCCP implemented the new requirement for covered government contractors to certify compliance with AAP requirements following a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report determined that OFCCP did not have a process in place to ensure contractors developed an AAP or updated it annually. This meant that OFCCP did not have a mechanism in place to ensure contractors were complying with a “central component of OFCCP’s efforts to prevent discrimination and ensure covered contractors take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunities for protected workers.”
Currently, OFCCP is only requiring annual certification on the portal for supply and service contractors. Contractors that only perform on federal construction contracts (and not also on supply and service contracts) are not required to certify compliance.
Existing contractors were able to begin certifying their compliance in the portal on March 31, and have until June 30 to do so. After this initial year, OFCCP will set a date by which all contractors must renew their annual certifications going forward. New contractors have 120 days after receiving their contracts to develop their AAPs, and then an additional 90 days after developing their AAPs to certify their compliance on the portal.
Additional information regarding AAPs compliance and requirements is available here.
Kristen M. Chatterton