U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, joined eight of her colleagues in cosponsoring the Military Spouse Hiring Act. Even though almost half of military spouses have a college degree, military spouse unemployment rates are consistently higher than the national average and a majority of employed military spouses report feeling underemployed. These high rates of un- and underemployment contribute to financial stress for many military families.
The Military Spouse Hiring Act addresses this issue by incentivizing local employers to hire military spouses. The legislation would expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which offers a tax credit to employers that hire members of targeted groups that face unique employment barriers, to include military spouses. This expansion creates a pathway for more military spouses to join the local labor market. Improving employment opportunities for military spouses also improves the morale of service members, which positively impacts their decision to stay in the military.
“Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices for our country – their careers should not be one of them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Yet frequent moves, deployments, and varied licensing requirements between states make it hard for spouses to find and maintain good-paying jobs. We have to do more to support them. I’m proud to be introducing this bill that will help spouses secure employment and support our military families through the unique challenges of military life.”
In addition to Senator Gillibrand, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Boozman (R-AR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) are cosponsors of the Military Spouse Hiring Act.
The legislation has been endorsed by the Air Force Association (AFA), Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Commissioned Officers Association of the US Public Health Service (COA), Chief Warrant Officers Association of the US Coast Guard (CWOA), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV), Marine Corps League (MCL), Marine Corps Reserve Association (MCRA), Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America (MCA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), National Military Family Association (NMFA), National Restaurant Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), Reserve Organization of America (ROA), Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), The Enlisted Association (TREA), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United States Army Warrant Officers Association (USA WOA), USCG Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), VetsFirst, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and Work Opportunity Tax Credit Coalition..
The full text of the bill is available here.