The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has proposed a new rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to set a goal to have 7% of their workforce be individuals with disabilities. Presently, federal contractors and subcontractors are only required to set percentage numerical goals for areas of their workforces where women and minorities are found to be underrepresented based on an "Availability Analysis" conducted under OFCCP regulations. The 7% goal for persons with disabilities proposed by OFCCP would apply to each job group in the contractor’s workforce. It is not based on any calculation by the contractor of availability but is rather based simply on OFCCP’s estimate of the percentage of the overall workforce that is disabled.

The proposed rule also imposes a requirement that contractors invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability at the hiring stage and the pre-offer stage, and to conduct an annual anonymous survey of its employee’s inviting them to identify themselves as a person with a disability. The rule would also require contractors to maintain recruiting and hiring data concerning persons with disabilities.

The proposed rule also requires contractors to develop and implement written programs for handling requests for reasonable accommodation and to engage in specific types of outreach and recruitment efforts to recruit individuals with disabilities, and to make mandatory job opening listings with the nearest One Stop Career Center as is currently required for recruiting veterans.

A link to the the OFCCP’s related FAQ’s can be found here.

The proposed rule is open for comment until February 7, 2012.