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OFCCP Posts New VEVRAA Benchmark Database and User Instructions: Annual National Percentage of Veterans in the Civilian Labor Force is Set at 7.2%

VEVRAA benchmark updated to 7.2%.

**Summary of Article. **On March 21, 2014, the U. S. Department of Labor ("DOL")'s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") posted the Benchmark Database ("VEVRAA Database" or "Database") required by the new regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act ("VEVRAA"). Federal contractors are to use the VEVRAA Database when establishing a hiring benchmark for protected veterans as required by 41 C.F.R. Section 60-300.45 of the new regulations, which became effective on March 24, 2014. The Database can be found at: http://www.dol-esa.gov/errd/VEVRAA.jsp.

The new VEVRAA regulations state that "hiring benchmarks shall be set by the contractor on an annual basis" and the benchmarks "will be published and updated annually on the OFCCP website." The VEVRAA Database includes the Annual National Percentage of Veterans in the Civilian Labor Force for contractors that choose to use this number as their benchmark. Of particular note is that, while the OFCCP, in its September 2013 VEVRAA Fact Sheet, stated that the national percentage of veterans in the workforce was "currently 8%," the VEVRAA Database published on March 21, 2014, sets this percentage at 7.2%, based on the Census Population Survey.

The Database also includes data on the percentage of veterans in the labor force in each State and the number of veterans who participate in each State's employment service, for use by those contractors choosing to develop an individualized database. In the Database, the OFCCP provides detailed user instructions and examples illustrating how a contractor could use the Database to set its benchmark either by using the national percentage or by creating an individualized VEVRAA benchmark. A summary of these requirements and options as set forth in the Database is as follows:

Option I: Adopt the National Percentage of Veterans in the Civilian Labor Force. As described in the posted VEVRAA Database, the simplest method for setting a hiring benchmark is to adopt the national benchmark based on the percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force. The Database states that the Annual National Percentage of Veterans in the Civilian Labor Force -- Current Year (Based on the Census Population Survey Table I, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) is 7.2%. No additional calculation or analysis is required when contractors use this method. Contractors with multiple establishments that choose this option may use the national percentage benchmark for any or all of their establishments.

Option II. Develop Individualized Hiring Benchmarks. The Database provides specific instructions and data for contractors who prefer to establish more individualized hiring benchmarks through Option II, the alternative method. Through this method, contractors must use all of the five following factors when developing an individualized hiring benchmark:

* The average percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force for the State where the establishment is located, for the three previous years. The OFCCP notes that this data is not available for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and that: 1) contractors in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands should select Florida data; and 2) contractors in Guam should select Hawaii data.

* The number of veterans who participated in the employment service delivery system in the State where the establishment is located, over the previous four quarters.

* The applicant ratio and hiring ratio for the establishment for the previous year.

* The most recent assessment of the effectiveness of the contractor's outreach and recruitment efforts.

* Any other factor, such as the nature of the job openings or the facility's location, that would tend to affect the availability of qualified protected veterans.

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