Federal agencies will be required to comply with the revised Section 508 standards beginning on January 18, 2018. This extended period for compliance is responsive to some agencies’ concerns about the time it will take them to make Information and Communication Technology (ICT) compliant with the Revised 508 Standards.
Existing ICT (Safe Harbor):
The Revised 508 Standards include a “safe harbor” provision for existing (i.e., legacy) ICT. Under this safe harbor, unaltered, existing ICT (including content) that complies with the existing 508 Standards need not be modified or upgraded to conform to the Revised 508 Standards. This safe harbor applies on an element-by-element basis in that each component or portion of existing ICT is assessed separately.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that, within six months, both the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) and Federal agencies incorporate these revised standards into their respective acquisition regulations and procurement policies and directives. Thus, with respect to procurement-related matters, the Access Board’s 508 Standards are not self-enforcing; rather, these standards take legal effect when adopted by the FAR Council. The actual adoption date has not yet been determined.