It’s been more than three months since the United States Department of Labor’s Final Rule to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 took effect, requiring government contractors to take steps to ensure that 7% of their employees are individuals with disabilities. The regulations, overseen by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), also include an invitation to self-identify as having a disability and extensive reporting requirements.
The impact of this rule is significant – the USDOL estimates that nearly 20% of the US workforce is employed by a federal contractor – but the rule hasn’t been widely covered in the media. With many contractors still unsure of whether they are complying with the 7% rule, we’ve compiled some resources to help you get up to speed.
How to Be In Compliance With the New 7% Disability Quota
Our blog post from September 2013 outlines six of the regulations’ major points, including data collection and incorporation of the EO clause, and the benefits of hiring a staffing firm to manage the new requirements.
USDOL’s Frequently Asked Questions
These comprehensive FAQs cover questions from why the final rule is needed to effective dates to who to contact with questions. The OFCCP added some additional questions in late June (marked as new), including whether a portal on a company’s intranet that asks employees to self-identify meets the self-identification clause.
USDOL’s resource list and searchable directory
One of the biggest challenges some contractors are facing is knowing how (and where) to recruit and hire people with disabilities. The DOL’s resource list features nonprofits and governmental and other organizations that can provide information and assistance; a searchable directory of these organizations (including DePaul Industries) is also available. In addition, Think Beyond the Label offers great resources on the business case for employing people with disabilities, and on hiring and recruiting.
The Wall Street Journal’s look at how government contractors are reacting
The week before the updates to Section 503 took effect, the Wall Street Journal emphasized the self-identification clause, and how to make employees feel comfortable “disclosing health-related information to their bosses” by self-identifying.
Human Resource Executive: “We’re seeing a lot of employers unaware of the March 24 deadline”
Just before the effective date, HRE took a look at how many government contractors weren’t familiar with the new regulations. It explored the lack of awareness among contractors, in part due to little information being available.