On Sept. 25, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) published a final rule that impacts federal contractors and subcontractors that hire and employ veterans under provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). The final rule rescinds the regulations applicable to federal contracts and subcontracts entered into before December 1, 2003, because those regulations are now obsolete. In addition, the final rule revises the regulations that outline the reporting requirements applicable to federal contracts and subcontracts of $100,000 or more entered into or modified after Dec. 1, 2003, by changing the manner in which federal contractors report on their employment of veterans. The new rule goes into effect on Oct. 27, 2014. Covered contractors must comply beginning with the annual report filed in 2015.
The final rule revises the VETS-100A Report and renames it the VETS-4212 Report. The VETS-100 Report will no longer be used. The new report requires contractors to report specified information on protected veterans in their workforce in the aggregate, using the same categories currently used for the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), rather than for each category of veterans protected under the statute.
General Reporting Requirements
The new report also requires contractors and subcontractors to provide the total number of employees in their workforces by job category and hiring location; the total number of such employees, by job category and hiring location, who are protected veterans; the total number of new hires during the period covered by the report; the total number of new hires during the period covered by the report who are protected veterans; and the maximum and minimum number of employees of such contractor or subcontractor during the period covered by the report. Contractors and subcontractors must complete a report for each hiring location.
Reports must be filed between August 1 and September 30 of each year following a calendar year in which a contractor or subcontractor held a covered contract or subcontract. While AGC supported the changes outlined in the proposed rule because of its ability to reduce the administrative burden on construction contractors, AGC suggested in written comments that VETS allow contractors to comply either one year after the effective date of the final rule or at the start of the contractor’s next Affirmative Action Program cycle, whichever is later. VETS acknowledged but declined the recommendation by stating that the two obligations are separate and have never been aligned.
Depending on the number of employees, contractors may be required to submit the report electronically. Contractors and subcontractors doing business at one hiring location may complete and submit a single report using the web-based filing system on the VETS website. Contractors and subcontractors doing business at more than 10 locations must submit their reports in the form of an electronic data file in accordance with the instructions for filing the report. In these cases, state consolidated reports count as one location each. Contractors and subcontractors with 10 or fewer hiring locations may file their reports in paper format.
Definitions Specific to Construction
In the final rule, VETS used several construction industry examples to help construction contractors better under the requirements for compliance. For example, in its definition of employee, VETS explained that an employee “does not include any person who is hired on a casual basis for a specified time, or for the duration of a specified job (for example, persons at a construction site whose employment relationship is expected to terminate with the end the employees work at the site).” VETS further explained that “persons temporarily employed in any industry other than construction, such as temporary office workers, mariners, stevedores, lumber yard workers, etc., who are hired through a hiring hall or other referral arrangement… are not covered.”
With regard to properly categorizing construction workers for the report, VETS defined craft workers as “individuals in positions that include higher skilled occupations in construction such as building trades craft workers and their formal apprentices.” Other shared examples include boilermakers, brick and stone masons, carpenters, electricians, painters, glaziers, pipe layers, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, plasterers, roofers, elevator installers, earth drillers and derrick operators. Mechanics, such as electronic equipment repairers, are also included in this category. Bridge and lock tenders, truck drivers and forklift operators fall into the “operatives” category while construction laborers fall under “laborers and helpers.”
In addition, VETS specified that contractors may use the same definition of establishment as defined by the instructions for completing the EEO-1 Report. In most cases, this is a single physical location. For locations involving construction, VETS explained that “it is not necessary to list separately each individual site, project, field, line, etc., unless it is treated by the contractor as a separate legal entity.” Contractors should list as an establishment only those relatively permanent main or branch offices which are either:
- Directly responsible for supervising such dispersed activities; or
- The base from which personnel and equipment operate to carry out these activities. (Where these dispersed activities cross state lines, at least one such establishment should be listed for each state involved.)
Flow Down Requirement
In addition to the Equal Opportunity Clause, each covered contractor or subcontractor must submit reports in accordance with the following reporting clause, which must be included in each of its covered government contracts or subcontracts as well as modifications, renewals, or extensions thereof, if not included in the original contract.
For additional information, please contact Tamika Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.