After years of anticipation among contractors, OFCCP has announced the launch of its new Contractor Portal, through which Federal contractors and subcontractors (“contractors”) will need to certify the compliance of their affirmative action plans (AAPs).
The Contractor Portal can be accessed through OFCCP’s website. The agency has posted Frequently Asked Questions on the contractor portal and indicated that how-to videos and user guides will be forthcoming.
The published timeline prescribes that contractors begin registering as soon as February 1, 2022. Beginning March 31, 2022, and extending through June 30, 2022, contractors must certify in the portal that they have developed and maintained their written AAPs as required.
This new information collection has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget following OFCCP’s September 2020 request to develop an online platform called the Affirmative Action Program Verification Interface (AAP-VI). The request stems from a 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report recommending that OFCCP collect and monitor AAPs on a regular basis to improve its effectiveness as an enforcement agency.
It is expected that contractors will need to select one of three compliance responses each year:
- Entity has developed and maintained affirmative action programs at each establishment, as applicable, or for each functional or business unit. See 41 CFR Chapter 60.
- Entity has been party to a qualifying federal contract or subcontract for 120 days or more and has not developed and maintained affirmative action programs at each establishment, as applicable. See 41 CFR Chapter 60.
- Entity became a covered federal contractor or subcontractor within the past 120 days and therefore has not yet developed applicable affirmative action programs. See 41 CFR Chapter 60.
We can assume that contractors selecting option 2 will experience corrective action from OFCCP and that, in the future, the agency will use this new database to generate lists of companies being scheduled for compliance evaluations.
In addition to collecting the annual certification from all contractors, OFCCP will use the Contractor Portal to collect documents and data from contractors undergoing compliance evaluations.
Contractors whose AAPs have expired should take immediate steps to complete them promptly. For those with plan years beginning January through April of 2022, it’s more important than ever to regularly maintain workforce and applicant data between now and the start of the plan year so that the upcoming AAPs can be developed in time to certify compliance by June 30, 2022.
HR Works is awaiting further details on the Contractor Portal registration and certification processes and will then notify clients of the support HR Works can provide in utilizing the portal. As always, clients should contact their HR Works project manager with questions.
This new certification process heightens OFCCP’s focus on organizations that are out of compliance. If your organization is new to AAP development and in need of assistance, our affirmative action specialists are here to help. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1-877-219-9062.