Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain such individuals.

Recent Changes

On August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Final Rule making changes to the regulations implementing Section 503. The Final Rule strengthens the affirmative action provisions of the regulations and aids contractors in their efforts to recruit and hire and improve job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

The Final Rule, which went into effect on March 24, 2014, was published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2013:

  • Establishes a 7% utilization goal for individuals with disabilities;
  • Requires covered contractors to invite applicants and current employees to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability; and
  • Requires contractors to maintain several quantitative measurements and comparisons for the number of individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs and the number of individual with disabilities they hire in order to create greater accountability for employment decisions and practices.

Learn More:

  • Visit the "Events Archive" page in the Information Center on this website to access the archives of the Section 503 Community of Practice series sponsored by the Operations Support Manager (Nov 2013 to Oct 2014).
  • On August 13, the OFCCP conducted a webinar on Section 503 designed specifically for the Ticket to Work service provider network. This webinar and all other webinars on Section 503 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) in OFCCP's Moving Toward Compliance series are archived along with information on upcoming webinars and are available on the website.

Resource: Tips on Discussing Section 503 with Federal Contractors (PDF)

Finding Federal Contractors

There are many ways to find Federal contractors. This can be accomplished by searching through websites where organizations awarded funding by the Federal government are catalogued for specific business or administrative purposes, and by visiting the website for national associations whose members are Federal contractors and subcontractors. You can jumpstart your search for federal contractors at the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation website or by using the General Services Administration (GSA) Subcontracting Directory.

Resource: Step-by-Step Guide to Locating Federal Contractors on the Federal Procurement Data System (DOC)(PDF) is a searchable website that provides information on Federal contracts and awards. The information can be search by contractor/recipient name, date of transaction, awarding agency/program, geographic location of entity receiving the award, etc.

Resource: User's Guide to Locating Federal Contractors on (PDF)

OFCCP maintains a pre-award registry which is published on the U.S. Department of Labor's website. This registry is a listing of companies that have responded to announcements for Federal contract opportunities during the previous 24 months.

Finding Federal Contractors through National Associations

Associated General Contractors of America: The leading association for the construction industry operates in partnership with its nationwide network of 95 chartered Chapters to provide a full range of services designed to improve the quality of construction and protecting the public interest.

National Industry Liaison Group: A national association of Federal contractor companies.

Professional Services Council: The PSC is the national trade association of the government professional and technical services industry. Its more than 370 member companies represent small, medium, and large businesses that provide Federal agencies with services of all kinds.