In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the federal government’s effort to combat it, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is temporarily waiving written affirmative action program (AAP) requirements regarding any new federal contracts to provide novel coronavirus relief.

The so-called National Interest Exemption (NIE) waiver period is for three months from the time it was announced, or until June 17, 2020, and is subject to further extension if OFCCP concludes that “special circumstances in the national interest so require.” Importantly, the limited exemption and waiver applies to new federal supply and service contractors as well as construction contractors in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. Contractors with existing contracts are not affected.

OFCCP also will maintain jurisdiction over affected contractors to investigate discrimination or retaliation complaints, and supply and service contractors are still subject to certain provisions in the EO clause, such as recordkeeping requirements. That said, this NIE is broader than the previous waivers granted in response to the California wildfires and Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and excludes other obligations from the EO clause, such as the notice requirements for employees and applicants, and the mandatory job listing requirement with state job boards.

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