May 27, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC – During Military Appreciation Month, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is joining Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to introduce the Military Spouse Employment Act, which provides federal agencies clear authority to hire military spouses who already want to serve their country to fully remote positions. With a fully remote position, the military spouse can maintain federal employment even if transferred around the country.
“America’s military spouses make immense personal sacrifices to support their partners – including, oftentimes, giving up their own careers,” said Senator King. “As our nation grapples with a worker shortage and increased connectivity enables remote work, the federal government should be taking every step possible to tap into this network of talented and patriotic Americans to fill vital public service jobs. Our legislation would help strengthen our nation’s federal agencies and allow military spouses to maintain a fulfilling, good-paying job regardless of where their partner is stationed.”
A recent survey found that 43 percent of active duty families surveyed said spousal unemployment is an issue for them. The survey found that 20 percent of military spouses in the labor force are unemployed and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate at the time of the survey responses was six percent. It has since fallen to 3.8 percent. But 42 percent of military spouses reported they are not in the labor force and are looking for employment – this as other studies show that a majority of American workers’ responsibilities can be handled from home.
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.