Monday, July 2, 2012

Feds considering hiring quotas for disabled

Keep in mind that many local and state programs receive federal funding, thus could fall under the scope of this proposed rule.

Claiming a thirteen percent unemployment rate for those with disabilities, Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said "specific goals" and "real accountability" were needed to ensure increased hiring of disabled individuals.

That means mandates upon employers are in the works.

In a response letter opposing the proposed federal policy, the agency was challenged by national business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

In a letter to the agency, 10 business groups contended the proposed rule establishes “unachievable standards and burdensome requirements on federal contractors.” The letter notes that the Labor Department has been unable to hit its own goals for hiring disabled individuals. 

A critical response also came from the Associated General Contractors of America, which warned that "because of the physical tasks required, dangers presented, and safety regulations that must be followed in many construction craft positions, many disabled individuals are not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation."

While these changes are proposed and under discussion, should the current administration get re-elected in November, it's likely that those in charge in the federal Department of Labor will be around next year, thus will have enough time to implement these changes. Employers would be wise to speak out now with their concerns and keep a close watch on this issue.


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