Earlier this week, Vice President Joseph Biden announced a new rule that represents a historic advance for individuals with disabilities. By strengthening longstanding regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rule aims to ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure and keep good jobs.
Many of you may be familiar with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which mandates equal access to educational services for those who may not qualify for an IEP under the IDEA. This development pertains to the Rehabilitation Act’s Section 503, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities and requires those employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain such individuals.
Sections 503 and 504 are the law. Once laws are passed, they are followed by rules and regulations that govern the implementation of these laws. With this announcement, the federal government has revised the rules and regulations for Section 503. The “Final Rule” strengthens the affirmative action provisions of the regulations to aid contractors in their efforts to recruit, hire and improve job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
The revised rule establishes a 7 percent goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities. It will also facilitate the success of companies that do business with the federal government by increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers.
You can read the Final Rule on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.
There you can also find other information about the new rule.