The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (“VETS”) recently issued a final rule altering the reporting requirements on veteran employment and hiring for federal contractors. The new rule revises the regulations implementing the reporting requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (“VEVRAA”). Although the rule becomes effective October 27, 2014, federal contractors and subcontractors will not be required to comply with the reporting requirements until the reporting cycle in August 2015.
The new rule rescinded obsolete regulations and changes the manner in which federal contractors and subcontractors report on their employment of veterans. Significant changes made in the final rule include:
- Rescinding 41 C.F.R. Part 61-250: VETS rescinded the regulations in part 61-250, which generally apply to contracts entered into before December 1, 2003. VETS found that the rules were obsolete because the Federal Acquisition regulations (FAR) generally limit the length of government contract to a maximum period of five years. As such, any contracts entered into prior to December 1, 2003, have likely terminated.
- Changing Reporting Requirements: The final rule renames the VETS-100A Report to VETS-4214 Report. The new rule provides that under VETS-4214, contractors can now report the total number of “protected veterans” in their workforce in the aggregate, rather than by each category of veterans protected by the statute. Previous reporting requirements under VETS-100A called for contractors to provide the total number of veterans protected under each of the four categories of “covered veterans”: (i) disabled veterans; (ii) other protected veterans; (iii) Armed Forced service medal veterans; and (iv) recently separated veterans.
- Change in the Definition of Protected Veteran: The new regulation eliminates the definitions for “covered veteran” and “other protected veteran,” and provides a new definition of “protected veteran” to mean a veteran who may be classified as a disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran, or an Armed Forces service medal veteran.
VETS believed that reporting aggregate data, rather than the data for each category of veterans protected, will provide more meaningful data to Congress. Specifically, the aggregate information will allow for cross-year comparisons of federal contractors’ employment and hiring of protected veterans, as well as the proportion of contractors’ workforce and new hires made up by protected veterans.
Additionally, VETS indicated that comprehensive data recording under the new rule will assist contractors in effectively monitoring the success of their recruitment and outreach efforts to attract protected veterans. Under the final rule, contractors and subcontractors may have to adjust their recordkeeping systems in order to comply with the revised data collection.