The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing final regulations, which establish a noncompetitive hiring authority for certain military spouses to positions in the competitive service, according to information published in the Federal Register.
The new regulations implement an Executive Order signed on September 25, 2008, and, according to OPM, are designed “to facilitate the entry of military spouses into the Federal civil service as part of an effort to recruit and retain skilled and experienced members of the armed forces and to recognize and honor the service of members injured, disabled, or killed in connection with their service.”
The Obama administration delayed moving forward on the President George W. Bush Executive Order as part of its general review of all Bush-era regulations not put into effect before the transition.
The new rule is effective September 11, 2009.
Those eligible include the spouses of military service members relocating for a new duty assignment, some physically disabled spouses, and those whose husband or wife was killed in the line of duty. About half of the 400,000 and 500,000 active-duty service members who change duty stations each year are married, according to Pentagon figures.
The eligible spouses will be able to ask that recruiters allow them to bypass the standard hiring process, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Meredith Leyva, the founder and editor of CinCHouse.com told the Post that approximately 50 percent of military spouses earn as much or more income than their husband or wife. "No service member expects to enter the service and get rich, so spouses need to be able to fill the gap with quality work," she said.
"This family-friendly policy provides employment opportunities from individuals and a measure of economic stability to military families who must deal with a multitude of issues arising from one spouse serving their country," OPM Director John Berry said in a statement.
"There is a desire out there, and we know that if we can meet the spouses' desires and keep them happy, then we'll keep them in the service," said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, according to the Post report.
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