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The US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on December 9, 2011. The rule would require federal contractors subject to OFCCP regulation to establish a goal of having 7% of their workforce be comprised of people with disabilities. Public comments on the OFCCP proposed rule are due by February 7, 2012.
OFCCP is responsible for regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires federal contractors and their subcontractors to provide equal job opportunities for workers with disabilities.
"This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," according to Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
According to the US Department of Labor these changes are important because despite the fact that Section 503 regulations have been in existence for some time, the current unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 13%, which is 1 1/2 times greater than the rate for people without disabilities.
OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, stated, "Our proposal would define specific goals, require real accountability and provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law. What gets measured gets done. And we're in the business of getting things done."
In addition to creating the new 7% goal, the proposed rule would also increase data collection and record-keeping requirements. Contractors will be required to conduct annual self-reviews of recruitment efforts and also be required to list job openings in order to increase opportunities for qualified applicants.
The proposed rule can be read at:
Comments must be received by February 7, 2012.