OPM makes it easier to hire military spouses

Wednesday - 8/31/2011, 6:51pm EDT

By Emily Kopp
Reporter
Federal News Radio

Spouses of troops killed or completely disabled by war will be able to take all the time that they need to apply for federal jobs under a rule that lets them bypass the competitive hiring process.

The Office of Personnel Management finalized regulations today in the Federal Register that strikes the current two-year limit. They go into effect Sept. 30.

Navy research found that many military spouses could not complete job searches during the first two years following their spouse's death or injury.

Widows and widowers often still were grieving, while spouses of the injured were caring for them. Many military spouses were taking care of their children by themselves, or simply needed more time to complete education or training programs and prepare for a job search.

Between October 2009-2010, the government hired 887 military spouses under the hiring authority.

It differs from the better-known veterans hiring preference, which gives veterans a distinct competitive advantage over other job candidates. While the authority makes it easier for human resources staff to identify military spouses, it does not require agencies to use the authority or set aside jobs for military spouses.

As a part of the final rule, OPM said four people and a national military association also wanted to get rid of the two-year rule for military spouses who must find new jobs because they have to relocate. OPM said two years was a reasonable amount of time for spouses of relocated troops to find new jobs.

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