OFCCP's budget request includes funds to hire specialized employees, strengthen investigative efforts, and improve compliance management
The Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is seeking $147 million, an increase from the 2022 budget by $41,075, for salaries and expenses for FY 2023. The agency’s FY 2023 Congressional Budget Justification requests an increase in staff by 208 to a new total of 628 full-time equivalents (FTE), specifically skilled and specialized employees, including team leads, investigators, and data scientists, statisticians, labor economists, and industrial psychologists. The OFCCP asked for a similar employee headcount increase last year but it was not approved.
They are also requesting funds to (1) support the agency’s additional enforcement responsibility for the increased number of federal contractors receiving investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), namely mega construction infrastructure projects, (2) strengthen its investigation and resolution of systemic cases by enhancing its database production, software expertise, and research capabilities to support stronger coordinated enforcement; and (3) engage in cross-regional nationwide collaboration by taking a more enterprise-wide approach when evaluating contractors’ employment practices and compensation. They want to make enhancements to the Compliance Management System (CMS) to enhance and streamline enforcement by creating a procedure whereby multiple establishments can be grouped together in a single conciliation agreement.
OFCCP has identified the following priorities for the next fiscal year:
- Build a more effective contractor compliance evaluation process for greater strategic impact to redress systemic employment discrimination and promote equal employment opportunity.
- Empower workers by developing strong partnerships with workers’ rights organizations to better identify potential systemic issues in contractor workplaces.
- Promote proactive action by employers to monitor and address barriers to equal opportunity, changing employer and industry practices that can prevent discrimination and promote access to good jobs for all workers.
OFCCP will increase investments in internal training programs, focusing on strengthening compliance officers’ skills in developing anecdotal evidence and identifying potential discrimination. They also propose to expand stakeholder outreach activities that serve underrepresented workers, LGBTQ+ workers, women, and workers with disabilities.
Assuming that OFCCP’s budget is approved, they will be seeking skilled analysts and provide training to expand their reach to new mega construction contractors and to root out systemic discrimination that may not be visible in a single establishment review. OFCCP’s recognition of the pandemic’s shift to remote workplaces has driven their plan to pivot to enterprise/company-wide evaluations supported by multi-regional staff.
They are also hopeful to partner with local advocacy groups that would be inclined to report on questionable contractor practices. Their objectives are achievable, especially if the budget is approved. Contractors should prepare for reviews that are broad-reaching, along with skilled specialists backing the agency’s efforts.