In December 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) launched its Affirmative Action Program Verification Interface through a new online portal (Portal). Beginning on February 1, 2022, registration opens on the Portal, and covered prime and subcontractors are required to certify compliance of their Affirmative Action Program (AAP) by no later than June 30, 2022. Covered contractors are then required to annually certify. The Portal also provides a secure platform for scheduled contractors to submit their AAP to OFCCP during compliance evaluations. In this Client Alert, PilieroMazza’s Labor & Employment Group gives an overview of the Portal, the AAP compliance requirements, and important deadlines.
Who Is Required to Use the Portal?
Supply and service contractors and subcontractors who meet certain jurisdiction thresholds (see the OFCCP Jurisdiction Thresholds Infographic) are required to use the Portal to register and certify their AAP compliance. Additionally, contractors holding a contract of $50,000 or more and employing 50 or more employees must develop and maintain AAPs pursuant to Executive Order 11246 and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If a contractor has at least 50 employees and a contract of $150,000 or more, then it must also develop an AAP pursuant to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Construction contractors, who are not also supply or service contractors, are not currently required to register with the Portal or provide an annual certification.
OFCCP published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help contractors determine whether they are required to use the Portal.
On February 1, 2022, registration opens on the Portal. Covered federal contractors need to register their companies and validate that their information is correct. OFCCP will also email covered federal contractors in its jurisdiction whose email information is available in its system inviting them to register.
Beginning on March 31, 2022, contractors may begin certifying the status of their AAP compliance. Contractors need to certify the status of their AAPs by no later than June 30, 2022, or fact still penalties for non-compliance.
It is expected that OFCCP will use the Portal to determine whether contractors are maintaining their AAP obligations and to justify penalties for non-compliance. Penalties could include placing contractors under burdensome reconciliation agreements, seeking back pay and interest awards, and initiating debarment proceedings.
Properly developing and implementing an AAP involves compiling substantial data concerning a contractor’s employment practices and performing analyses that can be time consuming. First, contractors should immediately determine whether they are required to prepare an AAP and/or whether their AAP is current. Second, if you are required to register and certify your AAP compliance on the Portal, start now to develop and implement your AAP to meet OFCCP’s requirements and get ahead of the upcoming deadline.
For contractors who are unsure whether they are required to register on the Portal and who need assistance developing and implementing an AAP, please contact Sara Nasseri, the author of this Client Alert, or a member of PilieroMazza’s Labor & Employment for Government Contractors practice group.