19 February 2020

Happy New Year! Time To Re-Survey Your Workforce for Disability

Welcome to another Two Minute Update.  Today we’re focusing on a federal contractor’s and subcontractor’s duty to survey its workforce for disability information.

In 2014, regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act were updated to require federal contractors to invite their employees to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability.  The updates further require that contractors re-survey their work force for disability status at least once every five years, and issue a reminder between the five-year interval.

For most contractors, this requirement became effective with their 2015 affirmative action plan.  Therefore, with the start of the 2020 calendar year, now may be time for you to re-survey, if you have not already.

Why the requirement to re-survey?  The reason is that disability is not necessarily a lifelong condition.  For example, an employee can become disabled while employed, recover from a previous disability, or someone with an existing disability may feel more comfortable self-identifying once they have been employed for some time.

It’s important to remember contractors are required to use the voluntary self-ID form prepared by the OFCCP, which must be separate from other employee disclosure forms.  This form can be found on the OFCCP’s website and is offered in English, Spanish and several other languages.  It’s an OMB approved form and its content cannot be altered or changed.

OFCCP proposed revisions to the form last Fall.  The revised form is consolidated onto one page and removes the accommodation notice.  The revised form also includes some potentially misleading language about employer’s obligations to hire individuals with disabilities, and assurances about who within the employer’s organization will have access to the information provided.  Until the OMB approves the proposed changes, contractors should continue to use the current form.

We’ll keep you updated on further developments.