OFCCP Offers Limited Compliance Relief for Federal Contractors in Wake of Recent Hurricanes

09 October 2017 Labor & Employment Law Perspectives Blog

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has taken two concrete steps to provide federal contractors compliance relief.

The first, a 45-day extension of the deadline to file the annual VETS-4212 Report, applies to all federal contractors, regardless of their location or whether they are affected by the hurricanes. The VETS Report identifies the number of employees and new hires working for a contractor who are protected veterans under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and is required of all federal contractors and subcontractors who have a single contract or subcontract of $150,000 or more with any department or agency of the United States for the procurement of personal property or non-personal services.  The OFCCP’s extension moves the deadline for filing the VETS Report from September 30, 2017 to November 15, 2017.  Covered contractors who have not yet filed their VETS Report should complete and file the report as soon as possible, but no later than November 15, or risk citation for failure to timely file their report.

In addition, in an effort to expedite relief from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the OFCCP has issued temporary, three-month exemptions on the requirement to prepare written affirmative action programs under Executive Order 11246, VEVRAA, and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The exemption is limited to federal contractors and subcontractors who sign a new supply and service or construction contract solely for the purpose of providing hurricane relief and who do not otherwise have to comply with the regulations.  OFCCP has issued three different National Interest Exemption Memoranda (NIE) for each of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria detailing the specific requirements for eligible contracts.

The three-month exemption applies to contracts signed between September 1, 2017 and December 1, 2017 for Hurricane Harvey, between September 8, 2017 and December 8, 2017 for Hurricane Irma and between September 21, 2017 and December 21, 2017 for Hurricane Maria. Additionally, all of these time periods are subject to possible extension.  Contracts that are covered by any of the exemptions will include language informing the contractor.

Please note that even those contractors who qualify for this limited exemption must remain in compliance with other OFCCP requirements. New supply & service and construction contracts falling under the NIE will continue to be subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of Executive Order 11246, VEVRAA, and Section 503 and to the following Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements:

  • Posting of the “Equal Opportunity is the Law” notice under all three laws;
  • Record-keeping and record retention requirements under all three laws; and
  • Employment listings with the appropriate employment service delivery system as required under VEVRAA.
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