The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is one of the most important articles of legislation for all U.S. veterans and federal contractors to understand.
What is VEVRAA?
Originally created in 1976 to assist in supporting veterans of the Vietnam War upon their return to the U.S., VEVRAA today outlines the responsibility of businesses to make key provisions towards all veterans and to prevent discrimination against these individuals in the hiring process, not just those who served in Vietnam.
VEVRAA is applicable to all federal government contractors and subcontractors who have contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more. It requires them, by law, to take affirmative action in placing veterans in jobs.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a part of the Department of Labor, announced in early April that the 2017 VEVRAA Benchmark will be 6.7 percent. This means all contractors and subcontractors must actively have plans in place to meet this requirement or risk losing existing and potential future tenders.
All contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees are required to submit reports to the government to show they comply with VEVRAA.
How does VEVRAA work for job seekers?
Veterans applying for roles with a federal contractor or subcontractor will be asked to define if they are classified as an individual with a disability. It is important for any veteran applying for an opportunity to understand VEVRAA and what constitutes a 'protected veteran.'
VEVRAA identifies four categories of protected veterans:
- Veterans with a disability
- Recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge)
- Active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans
- Armed forces service medal veterans
Veterans who fall into these categories will help their new employer to meet the benchmarks of VEVRAA, and may be given priority during the hiring process.
Why is understanding VEVRAA important?
For veterans and employers alike, VEVRAA represents an opportunity to enhance employment prospects, both in terms of access to suitable roles for individuals and assistance in fulfilling diversity and inclusivity requirements for employers.
At present, approximately one-third of the 12 million veterans in the U.S. aged between 21 and 64 have a disability, and the vast majority of this group seeks employment with government contractors or organizations.
Like all Americans, these individuals are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means their employer must provide reasonable accommodations to help them to reach their full potential in any new role.
You can find out more about the importance of VEVRAA and a range of useful links to relevant resources on the Act by following us on LinkedIn for updates!