DOL Issues New VETS Reporting Rules
On September 26, 2014, the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) released Final Rules changing federal contractors’ veteran reporting requirements. The new rules rescind the VETS-100/100A reports, and replace them with the new “VETS-4212 Report.”
Like the VETS-100/100A Reports, federal contractors must file a VETS-4212 report if they have a federal contract or subcontract in excess of $100,000.
Unlike some of the DOL’s (specifically, the OFCCP’s) recent activity, these changes actually ease some of the burden on contractors. Specifically, the VETS-4212 Report requires contractors to report specific information on protected veterans in their workforce in the aggregate, rather than for each category of veterans protected under the statute. The DOL claims this reduces the required reporting elements by almost half.
In addition, because contractors will no longer have to separate the veterans out into different categories, the VETS-4212 Report solves a common VETS-100A complaint—that a protected veteran may have to be counted several times if they meet the definition of more than one category.
The new rules also replace the term “covered veteran” with “protected veteran,” which includes: disabled veterans, veterans who served on active duty during a war or campaign for which a campaign badge was authorized, veterans who were awarded an Armed Forces Service Medal, and recently separated veterans. This definition more closely aligns with the definitions contained in the OFCCP’s Final Rules relevant to contractors’ affirmative action obligations for vets.
Moving forward, contractors will also be required to include the following clause in their federal contracts/subcontracts. Note that this clause is in addition to the required EEO clause.
(a) The contractor agrees to report at least annually, as required by the Secretary of Labor, on: (1) The total number of employees in the workforce of such contractor, by job category and hiring location, and the total number of such employees, by job category and hiring location, who are protected veterans; (2) The total number of new employees hired by the contractor during the period covered by the report, and of such employees, the number who are protected veterans; and (3) The maximum number and minimum number of employees of such contractor at each hiring location during the period covered by the report; (4) The term ‘‘protected veteran’’ refers to a veteran who may be classified as a ‘‘disabled veteran,’’ recently separated veteran, ‘‘active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,’’ or an ‘‘Armed Forces service medal veteran,’’ as defined in 41 CFR 61–300.2. (b) The above items must be reported by completing the report entitled ‘‘Federal Contractor Veterans’ Employment Report VETS–4212.’’ (c) VETS–4212 Reports must be filed no later than September 30 of each year following a calendar year in which a contractor or subcontractor held a covered contract or subcontract. (d) The employment activity report required by paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this clause must reflect total new hires and maximum and minimum number of employees during the 12-month period preceding the ending date that the contractor selects for the current employment report required by paragraph (a)(1) of this clause. Contractors may select an ending date: (1) As of the end of any pay period during the period July 1 through August 31 of the year the report is due; or (2) As of December 31, if the contractor has previous written approval from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to do so for purposes of submitting the Employer Information Report EEO–1, Standard Form 100 (EEO–1 Report). (e) The number of veterans reported according to paragraph (a) above must be based on data known to contractors and subcontractors when completing their VETS–4212 Reports. Contractors’ and subcontractors’ knowledge of veterans status may be obtained in a variety of ways, including, in response to an invitation to applicants to self-identify in accordance with 41 CFR 60–300.42, voluntary self-disclosures by employees who are protected veterans, or actual knowledge of an employee’s veteran status by a contractor or subcontractor. Nothing in this paragraph (e) relieves a contractor from liability for discrimination under 38 U.S.C. 4212.
In the alternative, contractors can site to the statute (41 C.F.R. § Part 61-300.10), and not quote the language verbatim.
Contractors will be required to file the VETS-4212 Report in 2015. The period covered by the new VETS-4212 Report will be the 12 months ending on the last day of the pay period selected by the contractor for reporting during a window beginning on July 1, 2015.
As always, we will follow up with further guidance on this report once the form is released.