For decades, federal contractors have been required to include affirmative action goals and strategies for veterans in their overall plans. Many employers simply used "boilerplate" plan provisions that gave very general and vague information regarding hiring of veterans. The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in turn, usually spent minimal time reviewing veterans policies during the course of affirmative action plan audits.
In recent years, OFCCP has signaled its intention to reinvigorate the veterans AAP requirements. Last week, the agency made good on its word by issuing proposed rules intended to strengthen contractors' obligations to hire and promote veterans in several specific categories.
The proposed rules would make veterans AAP requirements more closely resemble those in place for women and minority employees. Instead of general goals and strategies, covered employers would be required to list in considerably greater detail specific steps that will be taken to recruit veterans. Contractors will also be required to collect and preserve more detailed records with respect to these recruitment efforts.
For the first time these requirements include specific hiring benchmarks for veterans. Contractors would also have to schedule annual meetings with all employees to explain the veterans AAP and steps the company is taking to broaden employment and promotion opportunities for veterans.
The new rules would also require federal contractors to annually review the effectiveness of their veterans AAPs, and to make adjustments, much the same as requirements for race and gender plans.
OFCCP announced its intent to make more resources available to contractors seeking to publicize job offers to veterans. The agency noted that the increasing number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans make these changes especially important. OFCCP is accepting comments on the proposed rules through June 25.