The VEVRAA regulations at 41 CFR 60-300.45 require contractors to establish a hiring benchmark every year to use for measuring their progress toward achieving EEO for protected veterans. The regulation also includes recordkeeping requirements related to documenting the hiring benchmark.
Contractors must use one of two methods to establish their benchmarks. Contractors may choose to establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force which is published and annually updated on OFCCP’s website.55 Alternatively, as described in 41 CFR 60-300.45(b)(2) and discussed below, contractors may establish their benchmarks by taking into account certain data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service/Employment and Training Administration (VETS/ETA) that is also published on the OFCCP website, as well other factors that reflect the contractor’s own data and unique hiring circumstances.56
When reviewing an AAP for acceptability, COs must first review documentation provided by the contractor to determine which method the contractor used to establish a hiring benchmark. If the contractor used the five factors described in 41 CFR 60-300.45(b)(2), then the CO must review the methodology used by the contractor to adopt its hiring benchmark. The benchmark represents the percentage of protected veterans that the contractor seeks to hire during the AAP year.57 The CO must assess whether the contractor met its hiring benchmark using the hiring data submitted by the contractor.
To set a benchmark using the five-factor method, contractors must consider all of the five factors listed below.
- The average percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force for the state where the establishment is located for the previous three years. The DOL, BLS, calculates this information regarding the general availability of veterans for employment for each state. This data is provided in two different formats on OFCCP’s website. One format displays annual data for every state, by year. While the other format shows three years of data for each individual state, by state. (Note: This data is not available for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island or Guam. Contractors in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands should select Florida data. Contractors in American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island and Guam should select Hawaii data.)
- The number of veterans who participated in the ESDS in the State where the establishment is located over the previous four quarters. The U.S. DOL’s VETS tabulates this data regarding the number of veterans seeking jobs. This data is provided on OFCCP’s website for the most recent four quarters, as well as for previous periods. (Note: This data is not available for American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island or Guam. Contractors in those locations should select Hawaii data.)
- The applicant ratio and hiring ratio for the establishment for the previous year. To make these computations, contractors use the data they have collected to comply with 41 CFR 60-300.44(k), which should also be included in the AAP. To calculate the applicant ratio, compare the number of protected veteran applicants to the total number of applicants. To calculate the hiring ratio, compare the number of protected veterans hired to the total number of hires.
- The most recent assessment of the effectiveness of the contractor’s outreach and recruitment efforts. This information is included in the AAP.
- Any other factor, such as the nature of the job openings or the facility’s location, which would tend to affect the availability of qualified protected veterans. This factor provides contractors with the flexibility to consider any other pertinent factors about your establishment or the nature of your business that might affect the availability of qualified protected veterans as part of the process of establishing the hiring benchmark.
Contractors using this individualized method have the discretion to weigh the various factors in a manner that is reasonable in light of their unique circumstances. However, they must document each factor considered and explain the methodology and rationale used to arrive at the benchmark selected.
Contractors with multiple establishments that choose the five-factor option may establish individualized benchmarks for each of their establishments or may choose, instead, to adopt the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force as the benchmark for one or more of their establishments. Contractors with multiple establishments may utilize only one benchmark option per establishment.
55. See “Annual VEVRAA Benchmark Effective Dates,” at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/AnnualVEVRAABenchmarkEffectiveDates.htm
(last accessed September 2019).
56. See “VEVRAA Benchmark Database,” at https://ofccp.dol-esa.gov/errd/VEVRAA.jsp (last accessed September 2019).
57. The VEVRAA regulations do not require the contractor to conduct a hiring benchmark analysis. However, a contractor may conduct such an analysis using data it has collected. Also, the VEVRAA hiring benchmark may be used by contractors as one of the criteria to measure the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts.