When it comes to human resource planning to comply with federal employment legislation, human resources professionals need to stay updated to ensure they don't miss the implementation of new regulations. The U.S. Department of Labor's Officer of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently issued final rules under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), which deals with the employment of veterans, and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires affirmative action for the disabled.
The new regulations for both laws came into effect on March 24, according to DOL, so it's essential that HR professionals waste no time ensuring they are following the requirements. Only those contractors that had a written affirmation action program (AAP) implemented by March 24 are able to have more time to comply with the regulations. In addition, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) noted HR professionals can wait until their next affirmative action plan to start following some of the rules, such as the collection of data.
These two pieces of legislation are meant to motivate contractors to employ veterans and disabled persons without the need to meet quotas, according to SHRM. Each of the final rules require HR professionals to improve their hiring processes to meet certain employment benchmarks, including keeping certain types of data on file for future use and updating language in subcontracts. For human resource planning, this means HR professionals need to make sure they are adhering to each of the final rules, which may require HR departments to take time to work with other departments and adjust their recordkeeping procedures.
How to Comply with VEVRAA and Section 503
According to DOL, there numerous new regulations that contractors need to follow, and each of these rules require their own methods of compliance. VEVRAA and Section 503 share some updated regulations. Here are just three and how HR professionals can comply with them:
- Ask for self-identification: HR professionals and hiring managers must ask candidates before and after the offer of employment to self-identify as a veteran or a disabled person. According to The HR Group, this requires HR departments to draft a new section on their employment applications. There are samples from the DOL for this very purpose that HR professionals should utilize if they have not already done so.
- Maintain quantitative data on the hiring of veterans and disabled persons: HR professionals now need to document and update quantitative comparisons on how many former service members and disabled Americans apply for jobs and the number who are hired, according to DOL. This could require HR departments to continually keep track of this data, and investing in human resource management system software can help.
- The EO clause: Both VEVRAA and Section 503 now require HR professionals to incorporate the equal opportunity clause within job postings. However, HR representatives can't simply create their own clauses – they must follow the format of their state or local job service.
VEVRAA has one regulation in particular that is unique to it. Contractors must now establish annual hiring benchmarks. They have two methods to choose from to do this, and HR professionals need to examine whether it is more beneficial for the business to follow the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force or if using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or veterans' employment data from another departments is best. HR professionals can do this by understanding their company's hiring needs.
Section 503 also has an exclusive requirement: updating the definition of disability. According to DOL, HR professionals now must make the changes set down by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and so HR professionals need to ensure they are revising their companies' nondiscrimination provisions correctly. HR professionals can draft the new definition and amend nondiscrimination policies by using government resources, such as from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
There are numerous actions HR professionals need to take to adhere to the new VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations, many of which can be made easier with an employee management system. From keeping track of worker data and hiring information to improving the company's affirmative action policies, HR software can help human resource representatives monitor their compliance with VEVRAA and Section 503.