2018 Proposed Budget Released: DOL’s Budget Cut by $2.5B

President Trump’s budget blueprint dubbed as “America First” was released Thursday, March 16, 2017. The blueprint calls for a $1.15 trillion proposed budget that seeks to provide increased spending for the military and homeland security, while cutting the spending budget for other federal agencies, including the Department of Labor (DOL).

The Department of Labor’s 2018 proposed budget will be $2.5B (20.7%) less than the annualized continuing resolution (CR)[1] for 2017 and calls for the following:

  • The expansion of Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments – an activity by various States’ employment development departments to review the individual’s efforts to seek employment and to provide information on appropriate resources to assist the individual to return to work as quickly as possible.
  • Reduced funding to ineffective and duplicative training grants. This eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which was found to be ineffective in transitioning low-income unemployed seniors to unsubsidized jobs.
  • Elimination of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ largely noncompetitive and unproven grant funding.
  • Closing of Job Corps centers for the disadvantaged youths that do a poor job in educating and preparing students for jobs.
  • Decreased federal support and shifting more funding responsibilities to the States, localities, and employers for job training and employment service.
  • Helping the States to expand apprenticeship programs
  • Elimination of OSHA’s training grants and instead refocus the agency to keeping the workers safe on the job
  • Elimination of less critical technical assistance grants by the Office of Disability and Employment and instead launching an early intervention projects that will allow States to test and evaluate methods that will help persons with disabilities to remain connected to the labor market.

What about the OFCCP?

While the proposed 2018 budget is by no means final until approved by Congress, it nevertheless squelched some speculations on the fate of the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) under the Trump administration. If nothing else, the proposed budget revealed that the OFCCP is here to stay, will remain a separate agency from the EEOC, and affirmative action programs will still be enforced. However, much like other agencies, it is almost certain that the trickle-down effect of the proposed budget cuts will affect the OFCCP, particularly its request for an $8,693,000 budget increase and the retention of 615 full-time employees (FTEs) as outlined in its 2017 Congressional Budget Justification document. Should this really be an area of interest or concern to anybody besides the OFCCP?

While nobody can be sure of what will happen in the next few months, we can look back at the OFCCP’s budget and operation history and maybe, just maybe, look into our crystal ball to see what the future might hold for the federal contracting community? History shows that the OFCCP operated efficiently in much leaner years: from 2003 thru 2009, its appropriated budget ranged from $78M to $84M and with FTEs ranging from 585 (in 2008) to 749. How did the OFCCP survive with much tighter belt during those lean years? One answer lies in the issuance of the OFCCP’s Active Case Management (ACM) directive in July 2003. Under this directive, compliance officers (COs) were able to expedite audits — allowing them to close audits where no systemic discrimination was found — conduct more compliance evaluations, and direct their focus on organizations where more apparent discrimination occurs. The directive definitely allowed the OFCCP to do more with less and produced more financial settlements at higher dollar amounts.

With the possibility of the trickle-down effect of the proposed budget cuts, it will not be a stretch to think that the OFCCP will once again re-invent itself so it can continue to enforce the provisions of the regulations in the most effective and efficient way. This, not coincidentally, is one of the main thrusts of the new administration: improve “the federal government’s effectiveness, efficiency, cyber security, and accountability.” There is no doubt that everybody in the federal contracting community – prime and sub-contractors, lawyers, consultants, analysts, etc. – can expect another roller coaster ride with the probable changes in the OFCCP. In the meantime, hold onto your seats and stay compliant with the current regulatory requirements.


Helpful Resources:


[1] In December 2016, the Senate passed legislation to fund the federal government until April 28, 2017 to avoid a government shutdown.

Fostering Pay Transparency In Your Organization

In case you missed it, as a Federal Contractor, you and your company are obligated to foster pay transparency by letting  your employees know their rights under the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.   At a minimum you are required to include the provision in employee manuals and handbooks as well as post with other employee rights information.  The following is copied directly from the Department of Labor’s website and provides guidance to your obligations.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) 

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

Every employer covered by Executive Order 11246, as amended, is required to post the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision and include it in employee manuals and handbooks. The provision provides applicants and employees notice that the employer will not discriminate against them for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their pay or, in certain circumstances, the pay of their co-workers.

Because OFCCP believes that uniform use of the nondiscrimination provision is necessary to ensure consistency and clarity in the information provided to applicants and employees, contractors must, at a minimum, use the language provided in the nondiscrimination provision provided below to satisfy both dissemination requirements. Of course, nothing limits a contractor from providing additional information to their employees about their rights and obligations.

Posting Requirement

The posting requirement may be accomplished by posting the provision electronically or by posting a copy of the provision in conspicuous places available for employees and applicants. In order to facilitate the implementation of this requirement, OFCCP has created two versions of the nondiscrimination provision.

The first version is formatted to be posted electronically or printed and posted on the employer’s premises. It includes the OFCCP logo and contact information.

The second version includes the required, prescribed language only without formatting. At a minimum, contractors must use this prescribed language.

Employee Manuals and Handbooks

In addition to the posting requirement, employers covered by Executive Order 11246 must incorporate the nondiscrimination provision into their existing manuals or handbooks. Again, employers must, at a minimum, use the unformatted version.

Please note that this page provides general information. It is not intended to substitute for the actual law and regulations regarding the program described herein.

Note from Biddle:  Ensuring pay equity is a social and legal concern.  If you have potential concerns about pay equity in your organization or would like to know more about conducting a pay equity study, please feel free to give our experts a call or join us at the BCGi Summit where we will be diving into the intricacies of compensation (pay equity) analysis.

Why Self-I.D.? OFCCP Disability Inclusion Video Surfaces

As AAP/EEO practitioners within the Federal Contractor community, we all know too well the reasons of, and importance behind, the self-I.D. process of our applicants, hires, and employees.  One thing that can be challenging for Federal Contractors is to communicate that to applicants and current employees.  People are often reluctant to self-I.D. their race/gender/veteran/disability status for many reasons such as data security, feeling that they will be retaliated against, lack of knowledge as to what the data will be used for, and many other reasons.

The OFCCP has attempted to help Federal Contractors with one part of this process and recently published an educational video to explain why companies must collect disability information.  The deadline for Federal Contractors to conduct their initial employee survey has already passed, but the video may help educate applicants, future employees, and current employees who wish to modify their disability status.  Contractors must invite their employees to self-identify every five years, beginning the first year that they become subject to the Section 503 voluntary self-identification requirements.  In addition, at least once during the years between these invitations, contractors must remind their employees that they may voluntarily update their disability status at any time.

The video can be embedded on company websites or downloaded for internal posting and can be found at:

OFCCP Pay Transparency Final Rule – Audio Broadcast

As most contractors are aware, the final rule regarding pay transparency has been published and became effective since January 11, 2016.  In their continued effort to educate the federal contracting community, the OFCCP hosted a webinar to review the final rule and offer the chance to answer contractor questions. The first webinar registration filled up incredibly quickly, so the OFCCP announced an encore presentation of their webinar on January 28, 2016 at 2:00 EST. The registration for the second webinar filled up just as quickly as the first, and in an effort to accommodate the contractors that wish to attend, the OFCCP is broadcasting the audio for the webinar live.

To access the live stream, please click the following link:
http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=1117642&s=1&k=94CF71D01B12CA1727E879A118230FB8

If you were unable to attend the first webinar and are also unable to stream the audio, you can read our blog on the key points from the first presentation: http://affirmativeaction.com/news/review-of-ofccp-pay-transparency-webinar/

If you have additional questions about the Pay Transparency regulation, feel free to contact us via e-mail at staff@biddle.com or toll-free at (800) 999-0438.