With a new hiring goal, the federal government plans to use affirmative action to grow the number of people with disabilities on its payroll.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finalized a rule this month that will set a hiring goal for all federal agencies.

Under the plan, 12 percent of each entity’s workforce should be people with disabilities and 2 percent should be those with “targeted” conditions including intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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Moreover, the rule requires agencies to provide personal assistance services to employees who need help with eating, using the restroom and other basic activities during the workday.

“Increasing employment rates for individuals with disabilities is a national priority for the federal government,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. “These new regulations provide concrete steps and accountability mechanisms to promote employment and advancement opportunities for people with disabilities across the government.”

The new hiring goals apply to all levels of federal employment. If agencies fail to meet the quotas, the EEOC said it would work with them to make improvements to their hiring and retention of those with disabilities.

Federal agencies are already required under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act to have affirmative action plans for hiring people with disabilities, which are subject to approval by the EEOC.

With the rule, the EEOC sought to clarify the requirements for such plans.

The new regulations will take effect in January 2018.

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