Francis Kehoe, Esq., Founder/Partner, Sullivan & Kehoe LLP, says the U.S. Labor Department’s recent rule change in the hiring practices by federal contractors will give better opportunities to disabled persons and returning war veterans that had previously been unavailable to them before.
On August 27, 2013, the Labor Department announced a Final Rule that made a change to part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) in which, beginning March 24, federal contractors are now required to make sure that 7% of their new hires are comprised of people with disabilities and veterans. In addition, the Final Rule will require government contractors to document and update comparisons of applications from veterans and the disabled and the number of people the contractor actually hires.
The changes to the Rehabilitation Act and VEVRAA were in response to advocates’ concerns about the number of disabled people in the workforce and actively employed veterans. The organization Health & Disability Advocates in Chicago noted that during the recession between 2008 and 2010, the employment rate for the disabled fell by 12.3%, compared with 3.4% for their non-disabled counterparts.
On March 20, the U.S. Labor Department released a report showing the unemployment rate for all veterans in 2013 was 6.6% and 9% rate for those returning from the second Gulf War. Although these numbers are significantly lower than in 2012, and the overall unemployment rate for veterans is in line with the national average, the numbers for the unemployed Gulf War II veterans is much higher.
“This is a huge victory for recent veterans and the disabled,” Mr. Kehoe said. “They are going through difficult economic times and their disabilities or time away from our country has precluded them from finding meaningful work. Under the Final Rule, federal contractors will now be able to give them employment opportunities they might have never received otherwise.”
With offices in New York City, White Plains, Mineola, Kings Park and Riverhead, Sullivan & Kehoe concentrates in the area of handling veterans disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information, call (631) 269-1515 or visit www.sullivanandkehoe.com