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By: Paul McGovern
Everyone at AJE hopes that you are safe and well, and are taking every precaution in these difficult times.
We need good news. Here is some. The OFCCP is liberally granting extensions for desk audit submissions, information responses and onsite reviews.
Don’t feel bad if you missed this. To date, the OFCCP has put out several notifications relating to the COVID-19 emergency (none address contractors’ needs for extensions, we’ll get to that good news later on):
The first OFCCP announcement states that OFCCP personnel will work from home during the emergency. As the Federal government disfavors work from home, this is good news for OFCCP personnel and their families.
The second announcement, called a “National Interest Exception,” pertains only to companies that are not federal contractors that enter into government contracts for “coronavirus relief” until June 17, 2020. The contracts will not subject them to federal contractor obligations. Find more information in this FAQ.
The third OFCCP announcement, “COVID-19 Updates for FAAP participants,” helps contractors who maintain or seek to establish a Functional Affirmative Action Program (FAAP). It allows for video conferencing and electronic signatures during the emergency.
The good news about extensions for those of you attempting to work at home, perhaps with your children or elderly relatives who need care, is on the NILG website. It helps any contractor with an open or expected audit (for upcoming audits see 2019 CSAL audit pre-notice list in the OFCCP Freedom of Information Act Library).
The NILG reports that the OFCCP will:
1) Provide an automatic 30-day extension for desk audit responses.
2) Provide an additional 30-day automatic extension to file desk audit “data reports and analyses” (more below).
3) Provide a minimum of 14-30 days to respond to information requests.
4) Undertake “onsites” via video or phone conference.
The NILG relates that the OFCCP will “liberally grant” further extensions to contractors that remain affected by the COVID-19 emergency.
The NILG states that the OFCCP will email courtesy copies of scheduling letters to contractors who provide contact information to the appropriate Regional Director and OFCCP Deputy Director Patricia Davidson (Davidson.Patricia@dol.gov). This helps contractors concerned about losing scheduling letters sent to work locations that are temporarily closed or short-staffed.
To receive a “data reports and analysis” extension, provide the OFCCP with the “written narrative” section of your AAP (the text description of your company’s Affirmative Action Program) within 60 days of receiving the Scheduling Letter. Include a request for the data reports extension. This will give you an additional 30 days to respond to the 22 paragraphs of the Scheduling Letter’s itemized listing. If your Compliance Officer says otherwise, please contact the OFCCP Ombudsman, Marcus Stergio at Stergio.Marcus@dol.gov or 202- 693-1174 for help in securing the “data report” or other needed extensions.
The news gets better. The COVID-19 emergency will end – and the 30-day extension for data reports will not.
For years, the OFCCP has increased the amount of information that contractors provide with desk audit responses without providing additional time to respond. This has caused headaches for contractors. Stemming from OFCCP/NILG discussions, the OFCCP decision to provide additional time for data reports is not tied to the emergency. After the pandemic, the 30 data reports extension will remain available to those who request it and provide the written narrative within the standard 30 days of receipt of scheduling letter.
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