As expected, and consistent with what has become standard agency practice, Craig Leen, Acting Director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), has issued a memorandum to all federal contracting agencies giving them permission to waive written affirmative action program (AAP) requirements for contracts entered into to provide Hurricane Michael relief.

The so-called National Interest Exemption (NIE) waiver period is for three months, or until January 11, 2019, and is subject to further extension if “special circumstances in the national interest so require.” More specifically, federal contracting agencies are permitted to amend the required Executive Order (EO) contract clauses by adding prescribed language exempting the contractor from the obligation to develop written AAPs.

As is the case with the NIE waiver issued by OFCCP a few weeks ago in conjunction with Hurricane Florence, the agency has not (at least yet) announced a formal moratorium on the scheduling of new compliance audits of facilities in areas impacted by the hurricane. Instead, guidance issued in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) posted online simply notes, “OFCCP will contact contractors with open compliance evaluations in the impacted areas regarding the status of their evaluation and next steps.”

The Hurricane Michael exemption and waiver applies to federal supply and service contractors as well as construction contractors. As it has in the past, OFCCP will maintain jurisdiction over affected contractors to investigate discrimination complaints, and supply and service contractors are still subject to certain provisions in the EO clause to inform employees of their rights, keep records, and list open positions with state job boards.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.