Under the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is proposing a new rule in which federal contractors and subcontractors must set a hiring goal of employing disabled people as 7 percent of their work forces, along with other requirements.

According to OFCCP, this rule would strengthen the affirmative action provisions established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors to provide equal employment opportunities for qualified disabled workers. As part of the proposed regulatory changes, there are detailed, specific actions that contractors must do regarding recruitment, training, record keeping and policy dissemination. These provisions are similar to those that are in place to promote workplace equality for women and minorities. The proposed rule would also outline OFCCP's standards for contractors by stating specific guidance on compliance.

"This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," says Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "President Obama has demonstrated a commitment to people with disabilities. This proposed rule would help federal contractors better fulfill their legal responsibility to hire qualified workers with disabilities."

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