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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: December 19, 2001

SUBJECT: Department of Labor (DOL); Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment

SOURCE: Federal Register, December 19, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 244, page 65452

AGENCIES: Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), DOL

ACTION: Interim Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: DOL is revising the October 11, 2001, final rule regarding completion of VETS-100, Federal Contractor Veterans' Employment Report, the specification for how federal contractors were to calculate the maximum and minimum number of employees. The basic requirement to report the maximum and minimum number of employees remains.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The DOL regulations pertaining to VETS-100 are in Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Public Contracts and Property Management; Chapter 61, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training, Department of Labor; Part 61-250, Annual Report From Federal Contractors.

For more on the rule being revised, see the October 11, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor; Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment."

DATES: This interim final rule is effective December 19, 2001. Comments on the interim final rule must be submitted no later than January 18, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments to Norman Lance, Chief, Investigations and Compliance Division, VETS, at the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Federal Contractor Program FRN-Comments--Interim Final Rule, Federal Contractor Program Office, 6101 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304; or by e-mail to Lance-Norman@dol.gov. Written comments limited to 10 pages or fewer may be transmitted by facsimile (fax) at 202-693-4755.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Norm Lance, Chief of Investigations and Compliance Division, VETS, 202-693-4731, or by e-mail to Lance-Norman@dol.gov. Those with hearing impairments may call 800-670-7008 (TTY/TDD).

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (1) extended the affirmative action and reporting responsibilities of federal contractors and subcontractors, which previously covered veterans of the Vietnam era and special disabled veterans, to include any other U.S. veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; (2) raised the reporting threshold for federal contractors and subcontractors from $10,000 to $25,000; and (3) added a requirement that contractors and subcontractors report the maximum number and the minimum number of persons they employed during the reporting period to the Secretary of Labor.

On October 5, 2000, DOL published a proposal to revise 41 CFR 61-250 to incorporate these changes, and to rewrite 41 CFR 61-250 in "plain language" (see the October 1, 2000, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor; Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment"). One commenter asked for clarification about how to determine the minimum and maximum number of employees, asserting that there could be continuous changes in employment levels at a company and that it was unclear exactly when the minimum and maximum number of employees had to be determined. To respond to the concerns of the commenter, VETS clarified the language by adding the following to paragraph (a)(3) of 41 CFR 61-250.10, What reporting requirements apply to federal contractors and subcontractors, and what specific wording must the reporting requirements contract clause contain?, and 41 CFR 61-250.11, On what form must the data required by this part be submitted?, in the final rule (see the October 11, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor; Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment"):

"The minimum and maximum number of employees reportable at each hiring location during the period covered by the report must be determined as follows: Contractors must review payroll records for each of the pay periods included in the report. The minimum number of employees is the total number of employees paid in the payroll period in which the contractor had the fewest number of employees. The maximum number of employees is the total number of employees paid in the payroll period in which the contractor had the greatest number of employees."

It has been brought to the attention of DOL that the revised language might have inadvertently increased the recordkeeping burden on some contractors, and that it might be difficult for those contractors to match up payroll periods, employees, and physical VETS-100 reporting locations in the way contemplated by the final rule. For example, some companies use separate payrolls and pay dates for nonexempt and exempt employees within a single establishment. Other companies maintain separate payrolls and pay dates for bargaining unit employees and nonbargaining unit employees. Some companies temporarily remove employees who are on short-term leaves of absence from their payrolls. These absent employees, however, still may be considered "active" employees for purposes of the VETS-100 report.

To permit contractors flexibility in how they determine the maximum and minimum number of employees, DOL is deleting the language quoted above from 41 CFR 61-250.10(a)(3) and 41 CFR 61-250.11. Contractors will still be required to report the maximum and minimum number of employees, but the method by which they count the employees will not be mandated.

However, DOL expressly requests comments on the methods contractors intend to use to calculate the minimum and maximum number of employees. DOL plans on publishing this information, either in regulatory format or as guidance to contractors, for future reporting cycles.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2001 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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