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Affirmative Action Planning

Get the ‘Big Picture’ about Regulations and Compliance


Creating and Implementing a Plan

The People for the Job

AAP creation and reporting may not be a simple task. Individuals assigned to create AAPs should have adequate experience and receive training. While EEO and Affirmative Action planning may not be a core competency, it is essential to master these tasks if the company is, or decides to become, a U.S. government contractor, as audits may be lengthy and costly.

Deciding how to set up AAPs

Current regulations require separate Affirmative Action Plans for establishments with at least 50 employees, with certain exceptions.

All domestic employees must be covered under some Affirmative Action Plan:

  • Even locations with less than 50 employees
  • Even divisions or subsidiaries without government contracts

Functional AAPs are allowed but require OFCCP approval and OFCCP reserves the right to conduct compliance evaluations at the establishment level for functional AAPs.

Key Elements of an AAP

An AAP is a combination of statistical reports and analysis, commitments of action and descriptions of company employment policies, put in place to ensure equal employment opportunity. In order to determine a company's progress, the demographic composition of the workforce is analyzed many ways in the AAP.

Incumbency vs. Availability Analysis

To determine whether the percentage of minorities or women is reasonable, the composition of the contractor's workforce is measured against the external labor market. Over the years, a number of mathematical standards have been developed to measure the differences between incumbency and availability. These are:

Setting Placement Goals (41 CFR 60-2.16)

If, following the above calculations and AAP analyses, the percentage of minorities or women is less than would reasonably be expected, the contractor may need to establish goals. AAP goals should equal the availability percentage for minorities or women. For example, the goal might be to fill 12.1% of openings in a job group with minorities or women.

When goals are established, they will need to be monitored by:

  • Analyzing hires and promotions/transfers into a specific job group
  • Monitoring the representations of female or minority employeesselected

For example, the goal may be 23% minority employment and 15 hires and promotions were made during the year, of which 5 were minorities. This equals 33.3%, therefore the goal was achieved.

In addition to preparing an AAP, federal contractors will need to submit the following government reports by September 30th each year:

  • EEO-1 Reporting
  • VETS-4212 Reporting

Basics for Plan Implementation

After a formal plan has been created, the biggest challenge will be to implement the plan and gain internal management support.

One of the first steps taken in plan implementation is to invite job applicants to self-identify with regard to race, ethnicity and gender status. This can help communicate company EEO policies and make data collection for the AAP easier. If the company has 150 or more employees and a $150,000 federal contract or subcontract, personnel activities (applicant flow, hires, promotions, etc.) will need to be tracked by race and gender for a minimum of two years. If there are less than 150 employees or the contract is for less than $150,000, the data needs to be maintained for a year.

Communication is an important aspect of AAP implementation. During an audit, Compliance Officers will look for the required federal and state AAP/EEO notices and posters throughout the building, checking job ads, as well. Communicating how hiring procedures can impact the affirmative action plan will get everyone on board with company AAP objectives. This can make achieving goals easier. Department, staff meetings, and one-on-one meetings, can communicate the company's AAP obligations to recruit and hire minorities, women, people with disabilities, and covered veterans.

The contractor's senior management should also be informed of the company's EEO AAP obligations; this could take the form of a specialized presentation.

Finally, the company's EEO policy should be communicated to vendors and subcontractors. Communicating policies to employment resources and community groups can create positive recruiting and community relations.

To ensure that everyone understands the company's EEO policy, the following can be done:

  • Annual company-wide communications regarding the EEO policy
  • Group seminars about EEO
  • Posters stating the EEO policy

Community outreach and a well-prepared AAP, are among the best ways to communicate EEO and AAP policies outside the company.

Besides tracking personnel activities, also keep a record of all relevant good faith efforts (i.e. job postings), and EEO-1 and VETS-4212 filings. Good record keeping is the best way to get through and audit experience with good results.