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FY 2014 budget proposal documents provide details on impending OFCCP actions and recent past progress

May 15th, 2013  |  Cynthia L. Hackerott

In his budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2014, President Obama is proposing $108,467,000 for the OFCCP which includes 753 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. That amount represents a $3,280,000 increase from the FY 2012 Enacted Level of $105,187,000. On April 10, 2013, Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris released the documentation in support of the Labor Department’s FY 2014 budget request. Among this documentation is the OFCCP’s FY 2014 Congressional Budget Justification which provides some insights into current OFCCP enforcement initiatives and future plans.

FY 2012 enforcement overview. The OFCCP modified its performance measures and workload production goals in FY 2012 to increase the number of comprehensive and thorough audits, the budget justification explains. As a result of these efforts, and with improved training, updated procedures, and amended regulations, the OFCCP was on target in completing its anticipated number of compliance evaluations in FY 2012 and made significant improvements in the quality of its investigations, in identifying and investigating compensation discrimination, and in engaging in strategic outreach events to develop effective relationships with community-based organizations. The agency also achieved record results in the rate of compliance evaluations with recruitment violations for covered veterans and workers with disabilities.

Enforcement statistics. In FY 2012, the OFCCP completed 4,007 compliance evaluations resulting in over $11 million in back pay to over 30,000 workers, and created nearly 3,500 job opportunities. Of the 4,007 total compliance evaluations, 3,580 were supply and service contractor evaluations (including 80 Functional Affirmative Action Plan (FAAP) evaluations), and 400 were construction contractor evaluations.

The OFCCP’s target for FY 2013 is 4,400 total compliance evaluations with 4,000 of those as supply and service evaluations (including 100 FAAP evaluations) and 400 construction evaluations. For FY 2014, the OFCCP plans to complete 4,650 compliance evaluations, including 4,200 supply and service evaluations (with 100 FAAP evaluations) and 450 construction evaluations.

Compliance manual revisions.  The contractor community is still awaiting the public release of the long-promised revisions to the OFCCP’s Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM). OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu had previously announced that a revised FCCM would be issued by the fall of 2011, and last fall the agency indicated that the revised FCCM would be released by the end of the 2012 calendar year. The agency’s budget justification now states that the revised FCCM will be completed in FY 2013. However, at least one OFCCP expert has reported that the revised FCCM was completed in December 2011 and that OFCCP compliance officers are implementing the revised manual in the field now. According to the FY 2014 budget justification, the revised FCCM “will support a more robust and thorough compliance evaluation process, as well as create a level of consistency across regions.”

New IT system. Continued funding of the OFCCP’s new IT system will enable data sharing across entities and scalability, neither of which is available with the agency’s current, antiquated system, the OFCCP maintains in the budget justification.  The Federal Contractor Compliance System (FCCS) will modernize the OFCCP’s ability to perform its mission by employing state of the art cloud technology to track statistical data collected through the compliance evaluation process. In FY 2011, the OFCCP awarded a contract for the development of the FCCS and the agency anticipates the first deployment of the system will begin in FY 2013. The OFCCP estimates that over a ten year period the FCCS will cost approximately $23 million and result in approximately $39 million in benefits as compared to the current IT system. The OFCCP anticipates that implementation of this cloud-based system in FY 2014 will enable the agency to improve process standardization, reporting functionality, and overall productivity of employees, which will realize savings beginning in FY 2015 and 2016 in the amount of $39,000,000 over a period of 7 years.

Moreover, the FCCS will be designed to automate the Affirmative Action Program (AAP) process by enabling the OFCCP to electronically collect and analyze data submitted directly by the federal contractor community in a much more timely and efficient manner. The agency envisions that AAP data will be collected via a secure web portal that will be accessible to the federal contractor community.

In FY 2013, the OFCCP also plans to deploy a cloud-based technology that will allow stakeholders to find the information they need by using new self-service options that enable them to check the status of an existing inquiry and search a sophisticated knowledge-based system to find answers to their questions.

Pending regulatory proposals on veterans and workers with disabilities. The budget justification indicates that the OFCCP’s pending proposed regulatory revisions regarding workers with disabilities (76 FR 77056-77105) and protected veterans (76 FR 23358-23425) will be finalized sometime in FY 2013. To date, however, the final versions of the regulations have not been submitted to OMB for approval.

Compliance assistance. To assist contractors in complying with their responsibilities, the OFCCP will conduct 650 compliance assistance activities in FY 2014, an 8 percent increase from FY 2013 levels, the budget justification states. The OFCCP will continue to issue enhanced fact sheets and brochures in various languages describing the role of the agency, the laws it enforces, and what companies can do to ensure compliance. Guidance will be provided in the form of guides, webinars and directives.