The Department of Labor is proposing a regulation to mandate that seven percent of a federal contractor’s workforce consist of workers with disabilities. The proposed regulation would affect all federal contractors and subcontractors. The current rules state that contractors make a “good faith effort”.
The DoL is basing that percentage on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rule brings with it increased reporting requirements. An annual contractor self-review is part of the reporting.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy defines disability at its website. The hiring and continued employment of the disabled is governed for the most part by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Many federal departments and agencies are involved in the support and implementation of the various provisions of that legislation.
The burden of this new regulation will fall most heavily on small federal contractors and subcontractors. The largest contractors have a wide variety of positions to fill and are able to reasonably accommodate the disabled in many of them. The smaller the contractor, the more difficult it may be to find a qualified applicant that is disabled and to accommodate that individual. The proposed rule would require that one of every fourteen employees be considered disabled.
The area of disability rights has been the subject of vast amounts of litigation. The definition of what constitutes a disability and what “reasonable accommodation” means has been the topic of may lawsuits. State laws and regulations can vary from those at the federal level.
As with all such proposals, comments are being solicited for the next sixty days. The proposed rule can be found at the Federal Register. The site also explains how to make a comment about the proposal.
Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a free lance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.