NILG Federal Contractor & Subcontractor Compliance Info Center
Information, tools, and resources to help federal contractors and subcontractors comply with regulations and meet disability utilization goals.
This Info Center offers information and resources to help NILG members and others understand and comply with federal laws and regulations related to employment of people with disabilities, specifically those relevant to federal contractors and subcontractors. It includes links to webpages, factsheets, FAQs, and guides on topics such as the benefits of recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing workers with disabilities; where to find job candidates with disabilities; and self-identification of disability. The Info Center was developed as part of ODEP's Alliance with NILG.
One in 10 working-age adults in the United States has a disability U.S. Census Bureau. While progress have been made in recent years when it comes to expanding employment opportunities for disabled workers and creating more inclusive and accessible workplaces, according to the BLS, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is still almost twice that of people without disabilities. Recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing workers with disabilities is good for the country and good for business. Disabled people are an important part of organization-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) efforts, offering an often untapped talent pool for employers and bringing a variety of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the workplace.
Tip: Visit EARN’s Section 503 Best Practices for Federal Contractors guide to learn about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing employees with disabilities.
In addition to the many benefits organizations can experience by employing people with disabilities, federal contractors and subcontractors must also meet specific equal employment and affirmative action requirements to ensure that their workforces are inclusive of disabled workers.
This Info Center offers a variety of resources and tools to help federal contractors and subcontractors, including NILG members, comply with federal regulations and advance disability employment.
Tip: Visit OFCCP’s website to find information and resources on federal contracting requirements.
As a part of doing business with the Federal Government, federal contractors and subcontractors must meet certain obligations and are prohibited from discriminating against qualified job applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. Covered federal contractors and subcontractors are also required to take affirmative action (e.g., proactive steps) to ensure that all applicants and employees are treated fairly in all areas of employment including recruitment, hiring, promotion, retention, and compensation. Laws and regulations related to federal contractors and subcontractors are enforced by OFCCP and include Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Executive Order (EO) 11246, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) of 1974.
Tip: Read EARN and NILG’s “Engaging Employees to Measure Success: Innovative Approaches to Encouraging Self-Identification of Disability” to learn about strategies for encouraging employees to self-identify as having a disability.
In 2014, updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act set a requirement that covered federal contractors and subcontractors must invite applicants and employees to self-identify as people with disabilities—applicants at both the pre- and post-offer stage and employees every five years. While the choice to self-identify as a person with a disability is entirely up to the individual, there are steps an employer can take to create an environment that encourages self-identification.
Tip: Work-based learning opportunities like internships and apprenticeships help employers build a diverse pipeline of talent, including people with disabilities. Visit the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship’s website or the Department of Labor’s Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-To Guide for Employers (PDF) to learn more.
A common barrier faced by employers looking to hire people with disabilities is identifying candidates with the skills, interests, and experience for which they are looking. Various state and local service providers and other community-based organizations are available to help source candidates with disabilities. Finding the right partner is key to ensuring the success of your organization’s disability inclusion efforts.
A variety of resources are available from EARN, NILG, OFCCP, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), and others to help federal contractors and subcontractors comply with federal laws and regulations and advance employment of people with disabilities.
1 American Community Survey, 1-year estimates (Subject Table S1810).