Military spouses get more flexible employment options

Job-seeking military spouses in Europe received a special gift June 1 in the forms of more flexible and less restrictive Defense employment options.

Military spouses who participate in a two-year pilot program called MSP Choice are allowed to accept an interim job without losing their rehire preference under the Military Spouse Preference Program, according to Defense Civilian Personnel Policy Office officials. Spouses of active duty service members, including the Coast Guard, who relocate to a new permanent duty station are entitled to hiring preference as long as they're among the best qualified for the position, officials said. In the past, military spouses who took temporary jobs and time-limited jobs lost their hiring preference. This meant they couldn't compete if more desirable jobs became available later. Under MSP Choice--the first significant change in the military spousal employment provision since 1989 --the spouses lose their spousal preference only if they accept or decline the offer of a permanent full-time or a permanent part-time position. The pilot program applies to all DoD appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund positions in Europe. Spouses in Europe who lost their preference rights before the pilot started may be eligible for reinstatement under MSP Choice. Individuals who believe they may be eligible should contact their local human resources office. "MSP is restricted to employment of military spouses in the European Theater," said civilian personnel policy spokesperson Diane Hart. "There are no plans to start the program in other areas before the test is over. "We will monitor the European Command policy and continue to review spouse preference to determine if any further modifications are necessary," she said. "As with any pilot, we need to evaluate its effectiveness and ensure there are no unintended, negative consequences." Officials pointed out that veterans retain preference for initial employment over military spouses. So do employees displaced from their positions through no personal cause and selected employees placed under the Defense Equal Opportunity Employment Program.

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