Veteran unemployment has consistently remained higher than the national average, and the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) has taken action to rectify that. New rules are being implemented for federal contracting companies that require them to track the number of veterans they employ and report those figures to the DOL. The idea is to encourage veteran hiring with contracting companies, rather than enforce benchmarks.
According to Federal News Radio, Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), said ”This is something for contractors to work toward. And the reason why it is not a quota is because if somebody does not actually attain the goal … there is no penalty, there is no fine, there is no sanction for not hitting the goal itself.” As part of the new rules, 7% of workers in each job category must be disabled individuals, which further promotes the hiring of veterans who were maimed or otherwise seriously injured.
Despite the intent of the rules and lack of repercussions, the Associated General Contractors of America have voiced minor dissent about them. ”We have no problem and completely support the goals of these rules,” the group’s Executive Director for Public Affairs Brian Turmail said. “We absolutely think it’s incumbent upon us as Americans and as federal contractors to hire veterans, to hire the disabled. Our point is, the data makes it clear we’re doing that — we don’t need hundreds of millions or billions in new costs to prove that.”