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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Releases Final Rule, Which Clarifies Affirmative Action Obligations of Federal Employers towards People with Disabilities

February 27, 2017

On January 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its Final Rule, “Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities in Federal Employment.” The Final Rule requires federal agencies to take a number of specific steps to increase the number of people with disabilities working in the federal government.

The Rule requires federal agencies to create an affirmative action plan to ensure qualified people with disabilities are employed at every level of the federal government. The Rule lists steps that agencies should take as part of their affirmative action plan, including: (1) taking advantage of federal programs that allow for noncompetitive hiring and (2) making connections with organizations that provide disability-related job assistance.

The Rule sets four hiring goals for people with disabilities: (1) 12 percent of all agency employees at the GS-11 pay level and above must be persons with disabilities, (2) 12 percent of all agency employees at or below the GS-10 pay level must be persons with disabilities, (3) 2 percent of all agency employees at the GS-11 pay level or above must be persons with targeted (usually meaning “significant”) disabilities,  and (4) 2 percent of all agency employees at or below the GS-10 pay level must be persons with targeted disabilities. Each agency must take steps to increase the number of people with disabilities in its workforce until these goals are attained. The agency must also record their progress towards these goals and the details of its affirmative action plan.

The Rule requires federal agencies to provide personal assistant services (PAS) to any federal employee who needs these services to perform their job. Personal assistant services are tasks such as helping a person with a disability to eat, remove or put on clothing, and other activities of daily living. Although PAS under the regulations do not include medical services, they do include assistance that might ordinarily be covered under Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports (LTSS).

For more information, read the Final Rule as published in the Federal Register.