The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made some successful strides recently in championing the employment cause of both veterans and those with disabilities…something that KRA Corporation has followed closely in recent postings… and now the DOL has managed to take its reinvigorated efforts one step further by recently announcing that the Department has finalized the updated rules regarding the improved hiring of both veterans and individuals with disabilities.
The updated rules apply to requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which accounted for the affirmative hiring practices of veterans and disabled individuals (respectively) by Federal government contractors and subcontractors.
As always, the KRA Corporation team is heartened to see that the DOL is fulfilling its mandate of protecting and promoting opportunity for America’s workers—and even more so at a civil rights level.
The improvement to VEVRAA establishes quantifiable recruitment and employment metrics for those contractors hiring veterans based on national average workforce benchmarks (8%) or the contractor's’ “best available data” while the Section 503 rule regarding disabled people introduces a hiring goal percentage (7% per job group) with specific employment actions that more actively promote workplace equality.
The move, which was the result of a lengthy and comprehensive effort on behalf of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in consultation with numerous key stakeholders, was praised by the Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez.
In his blog post on Work in Progress, he states“These new rules are a win-win. They will benefit veterans and people with disabilities, who belong in the economic mainstream of the nation but have faced unfair barriers in the job market. They will benefit employers who do business with the federal government, increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers. And they will benefit the entire nation, as these rules help us fulfill the American promise of equal opportunity for all.”
It was interesting to note the concerns expressed in response to the Secretary’s blog post, especially as to how VEVRAA is potentially under-shared by some contractors and also that the positions made available by Federal contractors, might not reflect the aptitudes or abilities of those veterans.
KRA Corporation, however, remains confident that the DOL will stand by its assertions that all stakeholders, contractors included, will be openly treated in the process of enacting these new rules and that there will be equitable treatment across the board. We look forward to the future efforts of the DOL and we will continue to support the mission of all Federal, state, and local agencies that are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and strengthening the communities in which we live.