Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill that would give qualified members of the Reserve Components, such as a member who has successfully completed basic training and incurred a commitment to six consecutive years of service, tiered preference in hiring for civil service jobs. The Military Reserve Jobs Act of 2013, S. 1320, would help promote the hiring of Reserve Component members into the federal workforce.
“Members of our Reserve Components serve honorably, whether or not they are called for deployment,” said Donnelly. “Yet currently, some members of the Reserve Components cannot qualify to access preference points when applying for federal employment. They have already demonstrated their commitment to public service by joining the Reserve Components, and it is important that we support their pursuit of federal employment opportunities. This approach balances the respect for veterans who qualify for a 5-point preference with recognizing the contributions of Guard members and Reservists.”
“It is our patriotic duty to ensure our men and women in uniform receive the benefits and recognition they deserve for their sacrifices to defend our nation's freedom,” said Senator Cruz. “I am proud to cosponsor Sen. Donnelly's bill, which recognizes the invaluable contributions our military reserves and National Guard make to our national security through this overdue reform of hiring preferences by the federal government.”
“I believe that if someone wears the uniform for our country, they should be given preference in federal hiring decisions,” said Senator Leahy, co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus and a senior member of the Senate’s defense appropriations subcommittee. “For our currently serving reservists, I think federal employment gives them a great opportunity to find a stable position in the workforce that allows them to drill, train, and deploy with their reserve unit when called to duty. In other words, I see this bill as a win for military readiness.”
Members of the Reserve Components do not qualify for veterans’ preference if they have only served in a training capacity and have never been deployed. The National Guard Bureau estimates that approximately 159,400 Army National Guard soldiers (44 percent of the total force) and 73,700 Air National Guard airmen (70 percent of the total force) serve without having qualified for veterans’ preference.
The Military Reserve Jobs Act would close the gap for Reserve Component members who may not qualify for veterans’ preference points and would promote hiring of Reserve Component members into the federal workforce. The bill 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 be able to claim a 3-point, 4-point, or 5-point preference depending on their length of service.
Congressman Tim Walz (MN-1) is introducing a bill with similar provisions in the House of Representatives.
The tiered system in the legislation would work as follows:
A member of the reserve component may claim a 3-point Military Reserve preference when they have met each of the following requirements:
1. Successfully completed basic military training or officer candidate training
2. Has incurred a 6-year commitment with a reserve component
A member of the reserve component may claim a 4-point Military Reserve preference when they have met each of the following requirements:
1. Has completed 10-years of satisfactory service (earned a minimum of 50 retirement points per year) with a reserve component
2. Continues to serve within a reserve component
A Reserve Component member who retires after 20 or more years of service, but is not yet receiving a retirement annuity, may claim a 5-point Military Reserve preference.
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