DOL’s Virtual Summit Highlighting Compliance Tools Available to Stakeholders

On September 14, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) held a virtual summit entitled Advancing Compliance Solutions for Today’s Workplace, Two Years and Counting.  The summit provided federal contractors and subcontractors and other stakeholders an overview of the myriad of ways in which the agency is delivering compliance tools to stakeholders.

Bertram LLP attended the summit. The summit kicked off with a panel discussion with Cheryl Stanton, Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Craig Leen, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and John Lowry, the Assistant Secretary of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Each leader discussed an award or program available to help stakeholders.

Voluntary Compliance Assistance and Award Programs Panel Highlights:

  • WHD’s Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) Program allows employers (and federal contractors) to voluntarily self-report to WHD overtime or minimum wage violations discovered pursuant to an internal audit. Employers can work in good faith with WHD to correct payroll violations without fear of litigation. Most notably, participating in PAID insulates the employer from a liquidated damages award or civil monetary penalties. Likewise, because the correction is under WHD’s supervision, a participating employer could receive a release from impacted employee(s).
  • OFFCP’s Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award permits the agency to recognize a stakeholder that goes above and beyond in making its workplace inclusive for individuals with disabilities. A benefit of this award is that the establishment receives a three-year moratorium from OFCCP compliance evaluations.
  • VETS’s HIRE Vets Medallion Award Program is the only federal award that recognizes an employer’s commitment to hiring, retaining, and providing professional development to veterans. While VETS is not an enforcement agency, one perk of receiving this award for federal contractors is that the stakeholder will be exempted from § 4212 Focused Reviews for the year awarded.

The second panel included Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Tina Williams, Director of OFCCP’s Division of Policy and Program Development, and Michael Kravitz, Associate Administrator of WHD’s Performance and Communication team.

Innovative and Modernized Compliance Assistance Tools Panel Highlights:

  • ODEP’s Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) Workplace Accommodation Toolkit is a free resource available to employers offering one-on-one tailored assistance in providing accommodations to individuals in the workplace. This includes specific toolkits for certain individuals, such as recruiters, hiring managers, and employees.
  • In the midst of the pandemic, OFCCP reports it has continued conducting business as usual, albeit, differently. The agency has implemented virtual on-sites, providing contractors with the ability to cooperate with the agency and hopefully more quickly receive a closure letter. The agency has also increased its resources within the helpdesk to be able to more quickly assist stakeholders during the pandemic.
  • WHD discussed how it worked in record time to get regulations out to help employees and employers with understanding and implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Because understanding how to properly and efficiently participate in any of the programs discussed during the first panel can be complicated, employers and contractors should consult with Bertram LLP for assistance. Likewise, we offer efficient and effective assistance with navigating the complexities of OFCCP audits, reasonable accommodation requests, and compliance with FFCRA.