Legislation Rolled Out on Military Spouse Appreciation Day Focuses on Addressing Employment and Childcare Needs
May 07 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced the reintroduction of the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act to address military spouse unemployment and access to affordable childcare. The bill would amend the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses and create new flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to make it easier for military families to afford childcare.
“Military spouses and families play such an important role supporting our service members and they often face unique challenges in the course of that service. We should always be looking for ways to reduce their burdens and help meet their distinct needs, particularly in light of the impact frequent relocations and lengthy deployments have on their finances and responsibilities. I’m proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to make it easier for military spouses to find employment opportunities and help these heroic families afford childcare services,” Boozman said.
“I’m constantly amazed at military families’ willingness to sacrifice in service to our nation,” said Kaine. “In return, we should do what we can to address their struggles and remove obstacles to their economic security. By incentivizing private businesses to hire military spouses and allowing military families to use pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare, we can alleviate some of the unique hardships military families face and put them on firmer financial footing.”
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is a cosponsor of this legislation.
“I have always been a strong advocate for military spouses who serve our country by supporting their husband or wife,” said Tillis. “Unfortunately, many military spouses struggle to find good jobs or affordable childcare as their families often transfer from state to state. This bill helps military spouses find employment and affordable childcare wherever they go.”
Active duty military spouses consistently experience unemployment rates substantially higher than the national rate, and one-third of employed military spouses report underemployment. Frequent moves often stall military spouses’ upward career progression and force them to find new jobs. In addition, on-base childcare options are not always readily available or affordable, leading 65% of military families to choose privately-run childcare.
The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2021 would:
- Expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses, similar to veterans and other populations that face employment obstacles.
- Create Dependent Care Savings Accounts that military families could opt into to reserve pre-tax dollars from their paychecks to pay for out-of-pocket childcare expenses.
The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2021 has been endorsed by Blue Star Families, the National Military Family Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the Service Woman’s Action Network and Hiring Our Heroes.
Boozman is also a cosponsor of the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, bipartisan legislation that would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state reciprocity in the state where their spouse is currently serving on military orders.
The full text of the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2021 is available here.