Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. David Bowie's familiar refrain has become the motto of federal contractors everywhere as they struggle to keep pace with the numerous regulatory changes and enforcement initiatives currently being advanced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") and other Department of Labor ("DOL") divisions. As previously reported, amended regulations regarding affirmative action obligations relative to protected veterans and individuals with disabilities took effect in March 2014. Since that time, contractors have been bombarded with numerous executive orders and proposed rules mandating an increase in the minimum wage paid by certain covered contractors, requiring transparency in compensation and prohibiting retaliation against employees who discuss compensation, requiring the collection of summary compensation data, prohibiting contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and requiring contractors to identify labor and employment law violations. Now federal contractors are faced with yet another change.
On September 24, 2014, the DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service announced a final rule updating the veteran reporting requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act ("VEVRAA"). This rule rescinds the now "obsolete" VETS-100 reporting requirements applicable to federal contracts and subcontracts entered into before December 1, 2003. The rule also changes the veteran category "other protected veteran" to "active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran" for consistency with the amended VEVRAA regulations. Finally, the rule creates a new VETS-4212 report to replace the existing VETS-100A report used by federal contractors with covered contracts or subcontracts entered into or modified after December 1, 2003.
Under the current veterans reporting approach, contractors are required to file annual reports listing the number of veterans hired and employed in each of the protected veteran categories (e.g., recently separated, disabled, Armed Forces service medal, and other protected veteran). Contractors are allowed to count individuals in more than one category if more than one category applies. The new VETS-4212 report will eliminate this double-counting of a single individual and will require contractors to provide information regarding veteran hires and employees "in the aggregate" instead of listing the number of veterans hired and employed in each of the protected veteran categories. By focusing on the total number of veteran hires and employees, the VETS-4212 report is designed to make it easier for contractors (and the OFCCP) to calculate the actual number of protected veterans hired and employed by contractors.
Veteran reporting will continue to occur between August 1 and September 30 of each year. Contractors should continue to use either the VETS-100 or VETS-100A reports for 2014. Contractors must begin using the new VETS-4212 report in 2015.
For questions regarding the VETS-4212 report or any of the other regulatory changes applicable to federal contractors, please consult your employment counsel.
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