On August 25, 2023, The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced the release of its updated Combined Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing. As previously reported, the new Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing expand the range of information contractors must submit from 22 to 26 comprehensive categories of materials which are now required within 30 days of receiving the Scheduling Letter. OFCCP's policy only allows extensions to this deadline in "extraordinary circumstances" as defined in the Frequently Asked Questions linked here.
OutSolve will host a webinar discussing the updates to the scheduling letter on Thursday, October 12. You are invited to register for the event here.
It is critical that federal contractors take notice of this new audit format, as there are substantive changes to the requirements for submission of sensitive information during a desk audit. In summary, the change includes both new items and multiple prior items that have been expanded to include more detail surrounding outreach efforts, higher education submissions, two years of compensation data, the use of Artificial Intelligence tools in recruitment, and submission of policies.
Here is a brief synopsis of the added or enhanced requirements. See full letter for details:
Item #7 (New item under women/minority narrative): Provide documentation demonstrating the development and execution of action-oriented programs designed to correct any problem areas identified.
Item #8 (#7 in prior letter now expanded): Provide documentation of appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities reasonably designed to effectively recruit qualified individuals with disabilities.
Item #12 (#11 in prior letter now expanded): Provide documentation of appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities reasonably designed to effectively recruit qualified protected veterans.
Item #16 (#15 in prior letter): Higher education must submit Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Human Resources Survey Component data collection reports for the last three years.
Item #18e (New): For each job title or job group, provide the total number of employees, by gender and race/ethnicity, as of the start of the immediately preceding AAP year.
Item #19 (Revised/Summarized): Provide employee level compensation data for all employees (including but not limited to full-time, part-time, contract, per diem or day labor, and temporary employees) as of (1) the date of the organizational display or workforce analysis and (2) as of the date of the prior year’s organizational display or workforce analysis.
Item #21 (New): Identify and provide information and documentation of policies, practices, or systems used to recruit, screen, and hire, including the use of artificial intelligence, algorithms, automated systems, or other technology-based selection procedures.
Item #22 (New): Documentation carried over from the 2022 OFCCP Directive: Directive (DIR) 2022-01 Revision 1 - Advancing Pay Equity Through Compensation Analysis to provide detail regarding completed analyses.
Item #23 (#20 in prior letter): Provide copies of reasonable accommodation policies and documentation of any accommodation requests received and their resolution, if any, for the immediately preceding AAP year.
Item #24 (New): Provide copies of equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies, including anti-harassment policies, policies on EEO complaint procedures, and policies on employment agreements that impact employees’ equal opportunity rights and complaint processes (e.g., policies on arbitration agreements).
The desk audit letter was first released for review in November 2022 with an update posted in April of 2023. The final versions have received approval, and the new format is active. The revised Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing have incorporated the proposal put forth in April 2023.
Refocus Your Compliance Strategy
These changes to the standard scheduling letter represent the most substantive alterations and additions to the audit procedure perhaps in the history of OFCCP compliance. We cannot stress enough the importance of developing a strategy that embraces the verification Initiative, thoughtful EEO-1 reporting, and pay equity analysis alongside the affirmative action plan. Keep in mind that creeping into compliance requirements are popular terms like "artificial intelligence" and its potential use by the agency to easily detect violations. The agency is also watching how contractors use AI in the context of workplace employment.
As we approach the new year, it is imperative that you review and update your compliance strategy in light of new requirements to focus on reducing exposure, closing vulnerabilities, and remediation. We encourage clients to discuss the impact of these changes with your OutSolve consult.
Change is Inevitable. Stay in Step with Progress
Regulations change, societal pressures shift, and workplace needs evolve. Yet, in many cases, OFCCP compliance solutions and approaches remain unchanged—leaving contractors exposed to greater risk. The updated Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing further signify a move away from mere box-ticking towards meaningful actions. OutSolve understands that challenging conventional practices is necessary to keep you in step with the world today. As such, we have transformed the structure of our services to address the new changes, creating a compliance-solutions design that provides companies with proper risk coverage, and the agility to stay in step with evolving obligations.