Our 2024 outlook for the OFCCP landscape

Greetings, HR Professionals! 

It’s the end of 2023, which means it’s a fitting moment to cast our eyes forward and get a sense of what 2024 holds, especially for our interactions with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Let’s dive in.

OFCCP’s Current State

To put it bluntly, the OFCCP is currently overwhelmed. A substantial backlog of Affirmative Action cases and a shortage of compliance officers mean the amount of time from the date a Scheduling Letter is received to case resolution is drastically stretched out. This situation, while seemingly advantageous for organizations, is actually not. It poses challenges such as legal fees going up and your patience going down. 

The backlog has resulted in audits taking more than a year, and possibly longer, for closure. In addition to increased legal fees and losing your patience, this protracted timeline raises concerns about maintaining confidence in your Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs) that you have to create after-the-fact (receiving a scheduling letter) but before resolution, especially when potential inadvertent errors might go unresolved. This is, of course, a point where AAP/EEO/HR experts can be very useful. 

OFCCP Staffing Challenges

The OFCCP’s capacity to handle cases has significantly decreased. While they once scheduled around 4,000 federal contractors annually, they currently schedule perhaps around 1,000. Efficiency is a concern, and there’s a pressing need for more hands to address the backlog. 

The good news is that the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Justification indicates a positive shift. The OFCCP is budgeted to increase the number of Full-Time Employees (FTE), from 495 in 2023 to 620 in 2024. This injection of 125 employees, hopefully, including more compliance officers, is a step towards quicker case resolutions. 

By the way, it’s interesting to see in the Budget Justification that, in 2014, the OFCCP was budgeted for 683 FTE! But then there was a long slide down to 451 for FY 2021 and 2022. Note that it didn’t increase much for 2023 and still won’t be back at the 2014 numbers for FY 2024.

Budget Requests and Flexibility

In that same Congressional Budget Justification, on page 6, they wrote: 

“The Department requests two-year availability to increase flexibility for program execution. The annual uncertainty in the appropriations timing results in delayed hiring and rushed execution of contracts. The multi-year availability would reduce the impact of short-term continuing resolutions at no cost to the annual appropriations bill. This change would also enhance staff oversight of the programs they are administering.”  

Basically, they’re asking Congress to make a two-year funding commitment so that the OFCCP can feel freer to hire people…and that that will lead to quicker case resolution and provide more oversight to make sure everyone—including the compliance officers—are doing things correctly and efficiently 

However, the training of new hires is a gradual process, necessitating time for them to attain the requisite level of competence essential for efficient case resolution. As a result, significant improvements in efficiency might not be noticeable for a substantial part of FY 2024.

Regulatory Outlook for 2024

Given that 2024 is an election year, substantial regulatory changes in the Federal Contractor affirmative action sphere are unlikely. The status quo is expected to prevail as political stability takes precedence. 

Leadership Vacancy

A notable point is the absence of a Senate-appointed director for the OFCCP. Currently, Michele Hodge, assigned by the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL), holds the acting director position. Despite her recent appointment, Hodge’s extensive 39-year background in Civil Rights and nondiscrimination enforcement suggests a commitment to addressing infractions. 

As developments unfold, we’ll keep you informed. Stay tuned and stay on top of these evolving dynamics. 

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season! May your winter break bring rejuvenation, and here’s to returning refreshed and invigorated in the new year. 

Till next time! 

Note: Remember to certify your Affirmative Action Program on the OFCCP Portal.   


HR Unlimited, Inc. specializes in helping federal contractors and employers effectively meet their AAP and EEO compliance obligations. Please contact us to discuss any of your questions, concerns, or needs in this area.