2015 will mark a dramatic change in the way companies approach hiring veterans. The Department of Labor created a “Final Rule,” updating the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), which gives more teeth to the mandate to hire veterans.
When it becomes enforceable:
- March 24, 2015
- The Final Rule takes effect March 24, 2014 with the caveat that companies have one year to do a self-assessment.
Who it applies to:
- All government contractors or subcontractors that are required to have an affirmative action plan. With the annual federal budget at $3.03 Trillion, it’s a good bet your company sells something to the government or subcontracts for someone who does.
- Quick check: Look for an affirmative action statement in your company’s job descriptions.
Recently I was sitting at lunch with a fellow veteran hiring advocate, I shared the news of this new law with him and he responded, “Well, my company is not a government contractor.” I quickly pulled up www.usaspending.gov on my phone and showed him that they received over $100 million in government contracts. It might be worth 30 seconds of your time to check.
- Prove that your organization hires veterans commensurate with the national veteran average which is 7.2%
- Submit a waiver to show why your geographical area has less veterans than the national rate
- Have a deliberate veteran hiring plan.
The simplest path to avoid losing your government contracts is to hire more veterans. I’ve seen some companies tap their “diversity hire” manager on the shoulder and say, “You’re also responsible to hire veterans.” That may or may not be enough to avoid a fine.
From 2010 to 2014, the DOL Affirmative Action Compliance Officers conducted 21,182 audits; a stunning 25% of companies were found non-compliant.
If found non-compliant, one of the following outcomes occurs:
- Termination of existing contracts and debarment from future contracts.
- A quick search on the national federal contract registry showed 130,176 individuals and companies are currently debarred from applying for federal government contracts
- A major company was forced to pay $3 million when found non-compliant in affirmative action
- Agree to take steps towards compliance.
Without a doubt the future holds increased scrutiny and more rigorous audits to your veterans hiring practices. So the question becomes, have you looked at your veteran hiring initiative recently?