DOL Seeks to Improve Job Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities With Historic Seven Percent Hiring Goal for Federal Contractors
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently presented a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a change to affirmative action requirements that may help Social Security disability beneficiaries go to work or enter the workforce for the first time. The proposed rule requires private businesses that provide contract work for the Federal government set a disability employment hiring goal of seven percent. The new requirement applies generally to all employers who have contracts or subcontracts with the Federal government that exceed $10,000.
This proposed rule is part of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Why Revise the Regulation Now?
The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that people with disabilities face much higher unemployment rates than people without disabilities. Similar proposed rules demonstrate the Federal government’s commitment to close the employment gap for people with disabilities.
New Rule to Affect Social Security Disability Beneficiaries
Social Security disability beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work program may have the opportunity to benefit from the proposed rule since it will require Federal contractors to implement the following actions:
- Establish formal linkage agreements with State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, Social Security Ticket to Work Employment Networks, and employment services agencies.
- List all job openings with DOL One Stop Career Centers.
- Maintain records of outreach efforts to individuals with disabilities.
- Annually review effectiveness of recruitment efforts.
DOL Encourages Comments from the Public
DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs welcomes public commentary on the proposal. Comments must be submitted by February 7, 2012 at http://www.regulations.gov/. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/faqs/Section503_NPRM_faq.htm.