Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Preference Parity Act which would update antiquated federal hiring preference statutes that currently restrict many service members from qualifying for veterans’ preference points when competing for federal positions. Existing guidelines are particularly unfair to Reserve and National Guard members and do not accurately reflect the manner in which the reserve component is utilized today. At introduction, the legislation has amassed 21 co-sponsors.
“Whether in the Reserves, National Guard, or on active duty, our service members have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation’s safety and security,” said Hartzler. “However, outdated federal hiring rules prevent many of these patriots from being recognized when competing for federal positions. The Veterans’ Preference Parity Act rights this wrong by modernizing the archaic federal hiring statues and recognizing those who have served our nation.”
The Reserve Officers Association (ROA) is among numerous Veterans’ Service Organizations who have voiced their support for the Veterans’ Preference Parity Act: “The Reserve Officers Association applauds Rep. Hartzler and those who join in reforms that help members of the Reserve and Guard participate in a federal workforce that needs the nation’s best, to serve the nation. Gainful employment is also a key in the fight against homelessness and suicide among our citizen-warriors and veterans.”
The purpose of veterans’ preference is to provide eligible veterans with an advantage when they compete with equally qualified non-veteran candidates for federal employment. These longstanding guidelines acknowledge the economic loss suffered by citizens who served their country in uniform, restores veterans to a favorable competitive position for government employment, and recognizes the larger obligation owed to disabled veterans. In their current form, federal hiring preference rules require more than 180 consecutive days of active-duty time for service members to qualify. The Veterans’ Preference Parity Act modifies the current consecutive day qualification requirement to a nondiscriminatory total day threshold. This change will allow Reserve and National Guard members to have an equal opportunity to qualify for veterans’ preference points when competing for federal positions.
Additionally, existing federal hiring preference rules ban many retired service members from veterans’ preference eligibility. These current guidelines exclude those who retire in the rank of Major or its equivalent and higher. The Veterans’ Preference Parity Act will remove the rank-based restrictions and allow for all retired service members to qualify for federal hiring preference points.
Hartzler’s legislation is also endorsed by the National Guard Association and Fleet Reserve Association.