Could this bill be the answer to military spouses’ employment problems?


Could this bill be the answer to military spouses' employment problems?
(Photo: US Army, Pierre Courtejoie)

By J.G. Noll

The Military Spouse Hiring Act, introduced to the House of Representatives on May 11 (the day before this year’s Military Spouse Appreciation Day), seeks to incentivize hiring military spouses. HR 2318 was introduced by Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former military spouse.

The bill is a bipartisan one and is cosponsored by 13 members of Congress; 12 Democrats and one Republican. Cosponsors include Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who is a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee, and the second most senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).

In a press release, Shea-Porter emphasized the importance of spousal employment to the readiness and retention of the American military. “For too many military spouses, finding a job can be challenging due to frequent moves: up to 23% of military spouses are unemployed. Spouses’ difficulty finding work can negatively impact readiness, retention, and morale. Our service members deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing their families are happy and financially secure,” she said.

The bill seeks to expand the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Currently, the WOTC promotes the hiring of veterans and others in groups that have high long-term unemployment rates (like food assistance recipients, ex-felons, teenagers, and those going through vocational rehabilitation). These designations are called “target groups,” and employers are able to receive tax credits by hiring employees that meet the target group criteria. HR 2318 would add military spouses to the list of target groups, giving employers a tax break for taking a chance on them.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Military Family Association and the Military Officers Association of America.

At time of publishing, the text for HR 2318 is not yet available on Congress.gov. To track this proposed bill, click here.

J.G. Noll is the Editor of Military One Click and a veteran’s spouse. She can be reached at joanna@militaryoneclick.com.

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