U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia wants to give employers an incentive to hire military spouses, calling it an issue of military readiness.
Military spouses have been facing a high unemployment rate of 22% in the past decade, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Kaine’s bill, the Military Spouse Hiring Act, would give employers a one-time federal tax credit of up to $2,400 for hiring a military spouse.
He said the bill expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, already in place, to include the hiring of a qualified military spouse. The WOTC allows employers who hire those who are qualified veterans, ex-felons or long-term unemployment recipients to claim a tax credit equal to a portion of the wages paid to those individuals, the bill said.
Kaine said when you hire a military spouse, you boost retention and force readiness. “You recruit the soldier, sailor, marine, airman or woman, but you retain the family,” he said.
Kaine added that military spouses are great workers and have the skills employers are looking for.
“Flexibility mission focused resiliency, you know drop me into a new location and I’ll figure out the school system, I’ll figure out health care and I’ll figure out how to make new friends,” Kaine said.
He introduced the same bill last year, and even though it didn’t pass, he thinks this year things will be different.
“I have very strong bipartisan partners on this in the Senate and also a bill in the House,” Kaine said.
So far, 20 U.S. senators have gone on record in support of the bill.