US Labor Department Sets Hiring Goal for Americans With Disabilities

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is proposing a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal so that at least 7% of their workforce would comprise people with disabilities, among other requirements. The proposal is published in the Dec. 9 edition of the Federal Register.

The current unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 13% — one and a half times higher than the unemployment rate of those without a disability. The OFCCP’s proposed rule would strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal opportunity employment for workers with disabilities.

“For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a ‘good faith’ effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly that’s not working,” Patricia A. Shiu, director of OFCCP, stated in a press release. “Our proposal would define specific goals, require real accountability and provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law.”

The OFCCP is encouraging public comment on the proposal that can be submitted online or by mail to the OFFCP and should include identification number 1250-AA02. Comments must be received by Feb. 7, 2012. For more information, visit

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