WHAT IS SECTION 503 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973?
Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain these individuals.
WHERE IS A PRIMARY SOURCE FOR RELATED INFORMATION?
The Department of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs offers an extensive collection of information and tools. http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/
WHEN ARE THE NEW REGULATIONS FOR SECTION 503 EFFECTIVE?
The new regulations of Section 503 became effective on March 24, 2014. Current contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) already in place on the effective date have additional time to come into compliance with the AAP requirements.
WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW SECTION 503 REGULATIONS?
- Utilization goal: The new regulations establish a nationwide 7% utilization goal for qualified IWD’s. Contractors will apply the goal to each of their job groups or to their entire workforce if the contractor has 100 or fewer employees.
- Data collection: The new regulations require that contractors document and update annually several quantitative comparisons for the number of IWDs they hire. Having this data will assist contractors in measuring the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The data must be maintained for three years to be used to spot trends.
- Invitation to Self-Identify: The new regulations require that contractors invite applicants to self-identify as IWDs at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, using language prescribed by OFCCP. The new regulations also require that contractors invite their employees to self-identify as IWDs every five years, using the prescribed language. An OMB-approved voluntary self-identification form (in Spanish and English).