Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) Thursday reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would give qualified members of the National Guard and Reserves a tiered preference in hiring for federal civil service jobs. The Military Reserve Jobs Act of 2017 would help promote the hiring of National Guard members and Reservists into the federal workforce.
Donnelly said, “This bipartisan legislation would help members of the National Guard and Reserves earn a hiring preference when applying for federal civil service jobs. Guardsmen and Reservists serve our country honorably, whether overseas or here at home. This bill would help our nation better retain the experience and expertise of these brave men and women in both our Armed Forces and the federal civilian workforce.”
Cruz said, “I am proud to sponsor the Military Reserve Jobs Act, which recognizes and rewards our nation’s greatest asset: the men and women who selflessly defend the United States. We are immensely grateful for the service of our National Guardsmen and Reservists, who make significant sacrifices both in uniform and in our communities to preserve our freedoms and our military readiness. As such, they should have the same opportunities for federal employment as veterans of other military branches which is why I hope Congress will act swiftly to pass this important legislation.”
While some members of the Reserve Component qualify for veterans’ hiring preference, others who put in years of serving our country and communities do not.
The Military Reserve Jobs Act would close the gap for National Guard members and Reservists who may not qualify for veterans’ preference points and would promote hiring of Reserve Component members into the federal workforce. Currently, the Office of Personnel Managements assigns 5- and 10-point hiring preferences for veterans who served on active duty in a time of war, have a service-connected disability, or were wounded in combat. The Military Reserve Jobs Act would implement a tiered “Military Reserve” hiring preference for members of the Reserve Components who do not otherwise qualify for preference under existing laws. Under the bill, a qualified member of the Reserve Component would earn a 2-point or 3-point preference, depending on their length of service.
Guard and Reserve members face unique employment challenges due to employers’ concerns about hiring servicemembers who may be called up for duty at any time. In addition, members of the Guard and Reserves are more likely to remain in the force if they are gainfully employed, and the Reserve Components can achieve a higher level of readiness if turnover is minimized.
The tiered system in the legislation would work as follows:
A member of the Reserve Component would earn a 2-point Military Reserve preference after completing at least six years of qualifying service (earning a minimum of 50 retirement points per year) in the Reserve Component.
A member of the Reserve Component would earn a 3-point Military Reserve preference after completing at least ten years of qualifying service (earning a minimum of 50 retirement points per year) in the Reserve Component.