Earlier this week, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that represent an historic advance for veterans and individuals with disabilities. By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure and keep good jobs while providing employers access to a wider pool of qualified employees by hiring qualified veterans and persons with disabilities
For the first time, these rules provide metrics – management tools that inform decision-making and provide real accountability – to measure federal contractors’ progress toward achieving equal opportunity for people with disabilities and protected veterans.
- Hiring Benchmarks : The VEVRAA Rule requires contractors to establish an annual hiring benchmark, either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%), or based on the best available data and factors unique to their establishments.
- Invitation to Self-Identify: The VEVRAA Rule requires that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process. The Final Rule includes sample invitations to self-identify that contractors may use.
- Persons Protected: Section 503 cover persons with a wide range of mental and physical impairments that substantially limit or restrict a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.
- The Section 503 rule establishes an aspirational 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities.
- The rules will also facilitate the success of companies that do business with the federal government, by increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers.
- The need for these rules is clear: First unemployment for certain veterans and persons with disabilities is disproportionately high thereby affecting their standard of living, economic stability and individual and family wellness. Second– Employers are deprived of potentially qualified veterans and other persons with disabilities that could make meaningful and productive contributions to their business enterprises and the nation’s economy.
- Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have given so much to serve their country, should be able to find employment. While the unemployment rate among Gulf War era II veterans (post-9/11 generation) is approximately 7.2% compared to the national average of 7.4 %the employment situation of the youngest post- 9/11 veterans (ages 20-24) remains high at 17.9%. Importantly, veterans ages 20-24 are experiencing unemployment at a rate that remains 5.3% higher than that of their non-veteran peers of the same age.
The unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities in 2012 was 15%, compared with a rate of 8% for working age individuals without disabilities. This substantial disparity persists despite years of technological advances that have made it possible for many people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs.
Being a federal contractor is a privilege – one that comes with the reasonable expectation to abide by the law and provide equal employment opportunity to all workers. Today’s new rules make those expectations clearer and more meaningful. Furthermore it establishes new potential opportunities for veterans and persons with disabilities to improve their economic stability through employment. It also encourages employers to strengthen the diversity and thereby the productivity of their workforce by hiring qualified veterans and persons with disabilities.
The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later. You can read the Final Rules on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/ and http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.
As additional information regarding these rules and related material become available IVMF will continue to serve as a dissemination source to help employers better serve our veterans.
OFCCP Introductory Webinars
VEVRAA Final Rule (Please choose one)
- TODAY – August 29, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) http://www.dol.gov/find/vevraa-1
- September 11, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) http://www.dol.gov/find/vevraa-2
Section 503 Final Rule (Please choose one)
- August 30, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) http://www.dol.gov/find/section503-1
- September 18, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) http://www.dol.gov/find/section503-2