AGC Urges OFCCP to Exempt Construction Industry from Section 503 Disabilities Regulations
On Feb. 21, 2012, AGC submitted comments on the Dec. 9, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) notice of proposed rulemaking, which would implement significant revisions of the regulations governing affirmative action requirements for direct federal contractors and their subcontractors with respect to individuals with disabilities as required by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. AGC fully supports OFCCP’s stated overall goal of increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities; however, AGC believes the requirements of complying with this rule, if implemented, would be extremely burdensome on construction contractors due to the unique nature of the construction industry. As a result, AGC’s comments ask OFCCP to exempt the construction industry from the requirements of the proposed rule, with 125 AGC member-companies requesting the same via comments submitted through AGC’s online Action Center.
If implemented, the proposed rule would impact all stages of direct federal contracting and subcontracting for employers. Specifically, the proposed rule would require covered employers to:
- Meet a national utilization goal of 7% per job category of individuals with disabilities and a sub-goal of 2% for individuals with severe disabilities;
- extend an offer to self-identify as an individual with a disability pre-hire, post-hire and annually;
- track and maintain several new data points on disabled referrals, applicants, and hires, and maintain the data for five years;
- sign written linkage agreements with a minimum of three employment sources for individuals with disabilities, per establishment and perform a self-critical analysis of the effectives of each;
- create a file for every known disabled applicant and employee, to include every opportunity for which he or she was considered (vacancy, training and promotion), and a statement outlining the reason for rejection if not selected;
- conduct annual meeting and training programs for all employees and management;
- perform and document annual reviews of job descriptions listing the physical and mental job qualifications for all job openings and provide an explanation regarding why each requirement is related to the job;
- develop internal procedures to further inform employees about the affirmative action plan; and
- develop extensive specified written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation.
To read more about the proposed rule, click here.
Originally, OFCCP issued a comment deadline of Feb. 7. Given the importance of the proposal and feedback received from an AGC-hosted a conference call with its HR Forum Federal Subforum to discuss the implications of the proposed rule, AGC submitted a letter to OFCCP requesting an additional 60 days to more thoroughly review and comment on the newly proposed requirements. The request was denied. In a second attempt, AGC submitted a follow-up letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis regarding AGC’s disappointment with the denial of the original request, asking again for a 60-day extension of the comment period. While a 60-day extension was not approved, OFCCP extended the comment deadline by 14 days.
For additional information, contact Tamika C. Carter, PHR at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-837-5382.
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