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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: February 14, 2003

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

SOURCE: Federal Register, February 14, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 31, page 7617

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

ACTION: Notice

SYNOPSIS: The VETS is providing guidance on methodologies for calculating the maximum and minimum number of employees for the VETS-100, the Federal Contractor Veterans' Employment Report.

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 final rule that added language specifying how contractors were to determine the maximum and minimum number of employees during the period covered by a VETS-100, see the October 11, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor; Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment."

For more on the interim rule that removed that language, see the December 19, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor; Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment."

For more on the notice soliciting comments on methodologies for calculating the maximum and minimum number of employees for VETS-100, see the March 8, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor (DOL); Annual Report From Federal Contractors Regarding Veterans' Employment."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Norman Lance, Chief, Investigation and Compliance Division, VETS; 202-693-4731; e-mail: Lance-Norman@dol.gov. Individuals with hearing impairments may call 800-670-7008 (TTY/TDD).

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) contains affirmative action and reporting requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors regarding several classes of protected veterans. One VEVRAA requirement is that covered federal contractors and subcontractors file an annual VETS-100. Until 1998, the VETS-100 Report required contractors to report, for each hiring location, the number of protected veterans by job category, and number of new hires, including protected veterans hired during the reporting period covered by the report.

The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) amended the VEVRAA's reporting requirements by adding the requirement that the maximum number and minimum number of persons employed during the reporting period be included in the VETS-100 Report. To implement this provision of the VEOA, VETS added clarifying language in a final rule published October 11, 2001, explaining how the maximum and minimum number of employees had to be determined. However, it was 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 rule. To permit contractors flexibility in how they determine the maximum and minimum number of employees, VETS deleted this language in an interim rule published December 19, 2001. Nevertheless, VETS retained the basic statutory requirement to report the maximum and minimum number of employees. In the introduction to the December 19, 2001, interim rule, VETS expressly requested comments on the methods contractors intend to use to calculate the minimum and maximum number of employees to obtain additional information on which to base future guidance or regulations on methodology(s) for determining the maximum and minimum number of employees.

Because of a lack of response to the December 19, 2001, request for comments, VETS published a notice on March 8, 2002, reiterating the request for comments about how to determine the maximum and minimum number of employees. Specifically, VETS requested comments on the methodology contractors would prefer to use to calculate the minimum and maximum number of employees, particularly how a methodology interacts with organizational structure, payroll, or pay systems for particular types of employers (for example, nature of industry, single or multiple establishments), and how employees on extended leave of absence are counted. Also sought were comments on the recordkeeping burden and other information contractors thought would clarify the process for determining the maximum and minimum number of employees.

VETS received four comments: two from human resource consultants, one from an association representing human resource professionals, and one from an association that represents employers. Commenters described the practical difficulties with creating a "one size fits all" procedure for reporting the maximum and minimum number of employees. For example, some contractors utilize payroll records to track the number of employees while others use headcounts. Some contractors maintain records by organizational unit while others maintain records by physical location. Some contractors count everyone on the payroll as "active employees" while others count as employees only those actually paid in a particular period, and do not count employees on temporary leaves of absence or on other unpaid leave status.

In this notice, VETS states that it understands contractors and subcontractors have developed many different methods to count the maximum and minimum number of employees in their workforces during the VETS-100 reporting period, so it has decided to permit contractors to utilize any reasonable method to compute the maximum and minimum number of employees in their workforces. Consideration of whether a procedure is reasonable will include how the employer normally maintains records about its employees and whether the employer has been consistent in its methodology for counting employees across reporting cycles.

VETS is providing the following examples of methodologies identified in the public comments that it determined would be reasonable approaches for computing the maximum and minimum number of employees for the VETS-100 Report. "These examples are provided as illustrations only and other reasonable methods are considered acceptable."

Methodology Based on Organizational Structure

Methodologies Based on Payroll Systems

Methodology Based on Company Headcount

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

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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