Recently, OFCCP announced it would put forth its best effort to be “business as usual” in conducting compliance reviews and other actions to ensure enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This came after the National Interest Exemption was released on March 17, giving certain federal contractors a grace period for enacting their OFCCP compliance efforts.
However, the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) sought some clarification from OFCCP on what the expectations were for ALL federal contractors and subcontractors during this challenging time. Could OFCCP really expect companies to be in a position to handle all their audit obligations as if nothing has changed?
With the exception of those employers covered by the National Interest Exemption, federal contractors must still adhere to OFCCP obligations. Depending on your specific company, this may include mandatory job listing, diversity outreach, and appropriate documentation and record keeping.
The concern for many employers is the time it takes to collect and analyze this information correctly. Should you need additional support in these areas, LocalJobNetwork has the tools, experience, and 100% audit success rate guide you through.
While contractors still need to comply with all regulations, OFCCP is providing some help. NILG has shared the additional protocols OFCCP is creating “to continue operations to the extent feasible” and to help federal contractors:
- Grant an automatic 30-day extension for submission of AAPs after receipt of Scheduling Letter
- Grant an automatic additional 30-day extension to contractors who submit their written AAP narrative within 60 days of receipt of scheduling letter (i.e. provide another 30 days for submission of all data reports and analyses)
- Grant an automatic extension of 14 days, and more commonly of 30 days, for contractor response to information requests, with opportunity for further extensions as needed
- Conduct 503 focused review on-sites via video or phone conference only until contractors begin resuming normal operations
These steps taken by OFCCP are to help provide reasonable expectations of companies during this difficult adjustment period. NILG has also learned that if contractors have further issues responding due to COVID-19, OFCCP is willing to grant additional extensions (and do so liberally).
Furthermore, if contractors are worried they may not receive a Scheduling Letter due to workplace complications or otherwise, they should contact their OFCCP Regional Director to provide an email address for the “responsible contractor employee.” They should also copy that email to Deputy Director Patricia Davidson.
Providing OFCCP and the DOL with this information will ensure contractors receive an email with the Scheduling Letter, and still be mailed a hard copy to their physical address.
Finally, if any organization believes OFCCP is not offering satisfactory attention to the challenges of the COVID-19 situation, NILG recommends contractors reach out to OFCCP. This can be done through the Ombudsperson, Marcus Stergio, via email or phone (202-693-1174).