The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced today (December 2, 2021) more details surrounding the Affirmative Action Program Verification Interface (AAP-VI), now referred to as the Contractor Portal.
“Covered federal contractors and subcontractors (“contractors”) must use this portal to certify, on an annual basis, whether they have developed and maintained an affirmative action program for each establishment and/or functional unit, as applicable. In addition, the Contractor Portal will provide a secure portal for scheduled contractors to submit to OFCCP their Affirmative Action Program(s) during compliance evaluations.”
Here are some of the key dates to be aware of:
- February 1, 2022 – “Contractors may begin registering for access to the portal. OFCCP will also send an e-mail to each covered federal contractor in its jurisdiction whose email information is available in its system inviting them to register.”
- March 31, 2022 – “Contractors will be able to utilize the certification feature in the portal to certify their AAP compliance.”
- June 30, 2022 – “Existing contractors must certify whether they have developed and maintained an affirmative action program for each establishment and/or functional unit, as applicable.”
Some key information has been released in the Contractor Portal Frequently Asked Questions:
- Currently, only supply and service contractors are required to certify. Contractors that are only construction contractors are exempt… for now.
- Certification that a contractor has developed and annually updated their AAP(s) will not exempt them from compliance evaluations.
- Contractors can register for the Contractor Portal by creating a Login.gov account using an email and a secure password for entry into the portal. To register, contractors will be required to enter their Employer Identification Number (EIN) and EEO-1 Headquarter/Company Number and Establishment/Unit Number
- OFCCP attempted to allay some concerns regarding data security by outlining their security platform.
- June 30,2022, appears to be the deadline for certification.
- Contractors with FAAP agreements are required to use the Contractor Portal.
- A contractor can have multiple users register for the Contractor Portal.
How-To videos are noted to be coming soon, along with a User Guide and References.
The possible requirement of Federal Contractors to submit their AAPs to OFCCP on an annual basis has been rumored for many years, and we are one step closer to actually seeing that happen.
In 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report named “Equal Employment Opportunity: Strengthening Oversight Could Improve Federal Contractor Nondiscrimination Compliance.” The report recommended that a new online platform be developed to collect and monitor Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs), which became the basis for the OFCCP’s request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve this process.
In September of 2020, OFCCP published a notice soliciting comments on the potential verification process and requested approval from OMB for such a process.
Subsequently, on August 31st, 2021, the OMB approved the Affirmative Action Program Verification Interface (AAP-VI). You can read the BCGi blog released at the time OFCCP’s AAP Verification Interface Approved by OMB » Biddle Consulting Group News.
That blog post called out the many potential issues with getting the AAP-VI implemented in the real world, such as expected changes to the audit scheduling letter, potential security challenges to the Interface, and what exactly will be required for certification. Even today, those details remain unresolved and, while today’s announcement does outline the timeframe and method for submission, the fine details of the Portal’s contents are still to be revealed.
If you have questions about this or any other OFCCP matter, feel free to contact us at BCGi@Biddle.com.