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Federal hiring preference proposed for Guard, reserve

Jul. 18, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By RICK MAZE   |   Comments

National Guard and reserve members would receive preferential hiring credit for federal civilian jobs under bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday in the House and Senate.

The Military Reserve Jobs Act would extend the already available veterans’ hiring preference to reserve component members who may have only limited active-duty service.

Where veterans receive a five-point boost on hiring preference under current law, National Guard and reserve members would get between three and five points, depending on their length of service.

Three points would be awarded to those who complete basic training and have a six-year service obligation.

Four points would be provided to those who have completed 10 years of reserve service as long as they earned a minimum of 50 retirement points each year and are still in a reserve component.

Five points could be claimed by Guard and reserve members who have completed 20 or more years of service but who are not yet receiving military retired pay.

Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., are cosponsors of the Senate version of the bill. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., is chief sponsor of the similar House measure.

In a statement, Donnelly said the tiered point plan would give credit for a Guard or reserve member’s commitment to public service without reducing the value of service for those who served on active duty.

Leahy, co-chairman of the Senate National Guard Caucus, said he believes “if someone wears the uniform for our country, they should be given preference in federal hiring decisions.”

About 44 percent of Army National Guard members and 70 percent of Air National Guard members do not qualify for veterans’ hiring preferences today because their only active-duty service was for training purposes and they have never deployed on a contingency operation, according to a statement from Donnelly’s office.

If accurate, that means about 131,000 Guard members would be eligible for preferential hiring points under the bill.

No estimates were provided about the percentage of Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps reserve members who currently qualify for veterans’ hiring preferences.

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