Federal Contractor Hiring:

Effect of Veteran Hiring Legislation Is Unknown

GGD-94-6: Published: Oct 18, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 1993.

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Pursuant to congressional requests, GAO reviewed: (1) whether federal contractors and state job service centers are fulfilling legislative requirements to consider disabled veterans for employment; and (2) the legislation's effect on federal contractors' hiring of veterans.

GAO found that: (1) in general, federal contractors and state job service centers are meeting legislative requirements to consider veterans for employment; (2) although federal contractors' affirmative action plans generally comply with required hiring procedures, they focus on compliance rather than outcome; (3) most contractors do not list jobs paying above $25,000 per year with state job service centers because of the Department of Labor's (DOL) salary limitation; (4) although most contractors submit reports on the number of special disabled and Vietnam-era veterans currently employed and hired during the previous year, DOL does not use the information to evaluate the adequacy of veteran hiring; (5) the impact of veterans' priority referrals cannot be determined due to the lack of relevant information; (6) contractors' reporting of their total number of employees would allow DOL to determine the impact of veteran affirmative action legislation on federal and private contractors' hiring practices and better target its contractor compliance evaluations; and (7) legislative provisions concerning Vietnam-era veterans may need to be revised, since the number of those veterans entering the workforce is declining and they have a lower unemployment rate than nonveterans.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Since this matter for congressional consideration depends on DOL's ability to provide the data needed for Congress to assess program performance, and DOL has not provided those data, no action is pending at this time.

    Matter: Once DOL has taken the actions needed so that the effects of the federal contractor legislation can be reliably assessed, Congress may wish to review the data to determine whether it finds these effects acceptable. If Congress decides that the legislative intent of enhancing the employment opportunities of veterans in the contractor workforce is not being met and is still relevant, it may wish to discuss with DOL alternative provisions for implementing the act. One alternative for consideration could be to incorporate in the legislation general or specific goals to be achieved in federal contractors' hiring of veterans.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOL removed the $25,000 salary limitation from its regulations, 41 CFR 60-250, on January 5, 1995.

    Recommendation: DOL should remove the outdated $25,000 per year salary limitation in its implementing regulations for contractor job openings, which are to be listed with state job service centers. Removing the limit will increase the number of job openings that are listed with state job service centers and thus will provide additional job opportunities for special disabled and Vietnam-era veterans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOL is reluctant to spend the money necessary to generate the data needed for the comparisons necessary to target contractors for review because it questions the intent of Congress to continue the program.

    Recommendation: To enable DOL and Congress to assess the effectiveness of the federal contractor legislation for special disabled veterans and, if still relevant, for Vietnam-era veterans, the Secretary of Labor should require the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to use the comparative information for individual contractors to target contractors for review.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOL has not determined how it can best obtain the data necessary to generate the ratios necessary to make the comparisons.

    Recommendation: To enable DOL and Congress to assess the effectiveness of the federal contractor legislation for special disabled veterans and, if still relevant, for Vietnam-era veterans, the Secretary of Labor should compare the ratio of veterans to nonveterans in the federal contractor workforce with the ratio existing in the applicable private sector workforce and provide the results of this comparison to Congress.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOL has not determined how to collect the data. DOL also has reliability and cost concerns about getting the data.

    Recommendation: To enable DOL and Congress to assess the effectiveness of the federal contractor legislation for special disabled veterans and, if still relevant, for Vietnam-era veterans, the Secretary of Labor should determine, from the total number of employees and the already available information on contractors' veteran employees, the percentage of the contractor workforce that is composed of special disabled and Vietnam-era veterans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOL has not determined how to collect the data. DOL also has reliability and cost concerns about getting the data.

    Recommendation: To enable DOL and Congress to assess the effectiveness of the federal contractor legislation for special disabled veterans and, if still relevant, for Vietnam-era veterans, the Secretary of Labor should obtain, either from federal contractors or from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, contractors' total number of employees.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

 

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