‘It was very encouraging’; Utah bill helping military spouses find work passes through legislature

Photo by Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On the final day of the 2020 legislative session, many bills found their way on Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk for approval Thursday.

One of the bills dealing with military affairs will assist military spouses as they look for work

Introduced by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, the proposed Preference in Private Employment, designated as SB 12, will allow private employers who provide veterans preference in the hiring process to extend that consideration to their spouses.

The bill passed through both chambers early in the session with no opposition.

Military spouses face unique employment challenges given their lifestyle. Depending on the spouse’s career of choice, it can often be hard to obtain employment when they find themselves stationed in a new town.

Weiler told St. George News the bill is designed to help military families who are typically assigned to a different duty station every two to three years.

“It was very encouraging the members were receptive to my message,” Weiler said. “It speaks volumes about the respect our citizens have for people who serve in the military, their families and the sacrifice they make for our country.”

In Utah, the state already gives preference to military personnel, but not their spouses, who have to quit their job every time they move.

The way it comes in “handy,” Weiler said, is that if two candidates are qualified for the same job, preference could be applied to a service member’s spouse. This adds a level of protection to the employer, guarding against any claim of discrimination based on factors such as age, sex, race and years of experience.

“I don’t think the governor will veto this one,” Weiler said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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