At a public briefing for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights earlier this month, Acting Director Craig Leen detailed plans to increase the number of audits performed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance in 2019.
This news comes amidst recently announced changes to transparency at the agency that promise to better prepare contractors for the auditing process & experience.
Here’s what Federal contractors/subcontractors, along with other subject employers, need to know about the outlook for OFCCP in 2019.
More Audits, Focused Audits
In recent years, audits amounted to less than 1,000 during each fiscal year, but at the Nov. 2 briefing Leen expressed a desire to increase yearly audits to 3,500 during the new fiscal year which runs from October 1 through September 30.
And in addition to increasing audits overall, the agency plans to start focused reviews. As part of these reviews, OFCCP would go onsite and conduct a comprehensive review of the establishment at issue. OFCCP plans to schedule as many as 500 focused reviews in FY 2019.
Transparency and Efficiency
As part of new efforts to give contractors more time to prepare before an audit, OFCCP will be delaying Scheduling Letters until at least 45 days after issuing Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSALs). And along with the new changes, OFCCP has committed to contacting contractors 15 days after issuing a Scheduling Letter, which will give contractors the opportunity to learn what to expect during the audit.
The new transparency directive also changes the scope of extensions during the auditing process. Contractors can request a one-time 30-day extension for submitting some supporting documentation. But OFCCP will no longer be granting extensions for submitting affirmative action plans, unless they deem the contractor’s circumstances as extraordinary.
In order to streamline the auditing process, OFCCP has set a goal of completing audits within 45 days when there are no indicators of discrimination. And when an audit uncovers a violation, OFCCP must share information and essential source data related to its findings. This is meant to give contractors the ability to replicate OFCCP’s findings and develop solutions to resolve any issues.
Together, these recent announcements signal there are substantial changes in store for Federal contractors next year–changes that promise to streamline the auditing process. But the increase in audits and a shift toward focused reviews means Federal contractors must be more prepared than ever.