PASSED: Lankford’s Bill to Make It Easier for Military Spouses To Find Permanent Careers Advances to the House
WASHINGTON, DC – In a victory for service members and their families today, Senator James Lankford’s (R-OK) bill, the Military Spouse Employment Act, which gives federal agencies clear authority to hire military spouses to fully remote positions, unanimously passed the Senate and now heads to the House. With a fully remote position, a military spouse can have a federal career even if they are transferred with their spouse anywhere in the world. Lankford is the lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management with jurisdiction over federal employment matters.
“We are one step closer to getting this practical solution for our military spouses into law,” said Lankford. “If the House will swiftly pass my bill, a military spouse in Altus, Enid, Oklahoma City, Lawton, McAlester, or any of the other great installations around the country, where most federal agencies do not have local offices, could still start a federal career and serve their country remotely from almost anywhere, as their military family moves. The COVID-19 pandemic showed that many federal jobs can be done remotely. Our military families should benefit from that experience.”
A recent survey found that 43 percent of active duty families surveyed said spousal unemployment is an issue for them, and 42 percent of military spouses reported they are not in the labor force and are looking for employment.
A combination of issues is keeping military spouses from holding jobs. Nearly half of the spouses said they would look for a new job in the next year. Thirty-three percent of spouses said the reason they aren’t working was because their family will relocate soon because of new military orders. Underemployment also continues to be an issue for 63 percent of military spouses.
Lankford introduced the Military Spouses Retirement Security Act, a bill that would help spouses of active duty service members save for retirement by expanding access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Lankford is also a cosponsor of the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act.