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New Rule For Federal Contractors Proposed

1.    Is your business a federal contractor?

2.    Do you hope to become a federal contractor someday?

3.    Are you ready to comply with a proposed OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance) rule that sets a goal for hiring persons with disabilities?


If you answered yes to questions 1 and 2 and no to question 3, AbilityLinks, an internet based program dedicated to increasing employment of qualified persons with disabilities, can help.


How the new rule will work

If adopted, the new OFCCP rule will require all federal contractors to have the same hiring goal: 7 percent of their workforce will be persons with disabilities. To guard against segregating disabled individuals into low skill, low pay positions, the 7 percent goal will be applied to each of a company’s job groups.


In a departure from current practice, job applicants will be invited to voluntarily self-disclose disability. Previously, federal contractors were only required to invite disclosure of gender, race and ethnicity. Contractors will also be required to survey all employees annually to, anonymously and voluntarily, invite disability disclosure. The rule is intended to spur company recruitment of qualified persons with disabilities at all levels of the organization.


Disability unemployment remains high

Despite passage of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) in 1990, unemployment among work-age persons with disabilities remains high. 30.5 percent of disabled individuals participate in the labor force compared to 79.2 of nondisabled persons (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Section 503 has always required contractors to demonstrate affirmative action toward persons with disabilities, but until now a goal setting and measurement component has been lacking.


“I support this rule and think it’s long overdue,” said Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital President and CEO, and Co-Chair of the AbilityLinks steering committee. “Establishing hiring goals for women, minorities and ethnic groups has brought down employment barriers and increased opportunities for them. Just as importantly, businesses have reaped the benefits of a more productive and diverse workforce. The same formula can work for persons with disabilities,” she added. 


Enforcement and start date

Failure to achieve the 7 percent hiring goal would not necessarily be a finding or admission of discrimination but could impact renewal of a current contract or award of a new one. The rule may take effect as early as the end of 2012. Learn more about the new OFCCP rule and the ADA.


How can help is a job board for persons who voluntarily self-disclose disability. Federal contractors and other employers use the website to search resumes and post jobs. Automated job posting is included in premium membership packages starting at $750 per year. Ads that generate the most job applications are included in sponsorship packages starting at $2,500 per year. Learn more about the AbilityLinks program. Demonstrate your compliance with the new OFCCP rule. Learn more about sponsorship and membership opportunities today. AbilityLinks is a program of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.