Veterans’ Preference in Private Employment

Veterans’ unemployment has been a source of concern, not just in Utah but nationwide for decades. The rate of unemployment among veterans is often higher than average, and even higher still for disabled veterans. The transition from active duty to civilian life can be stressful, both for veterans and their families. In the face of skyrocketing rates of suicide and PTSD among veterans, Utah legislators have removed obstacles for our veterans and their spouses to find and maintain gainful employment.

The Utah legislature has passed a law to allow private-sector employers to legally institute preferential hiring policies for veterans and their spouses. The 2020 General Session will feature a bill clarifying that National Guard, Reserve and active-duty service members may also receive hiring preferences in the private sector.

Service member spouses often face hardships in employment as they move time and time again throughout their careers. One area of particular frustration is obtaining licensing from state to state -- where each has state varying requirements for the same occupations.

Professionals with years of experience may be required to undergo hundreds or even thousands of hours of additional training to attain a state license, only to have to undergo the same process as soon as their spouse is transferred. Utah gained national attention over a 2018 bill that eliminated licensing requirements for military spouses. This effort has ignited a nationwide discussion about state licensing reciprocity agreements.

The decision to serve in the military is a sacrifice not made lightly, and it deserves our respect. The Utah legislature has made employment for service members, veterans and their spouses less stressful. The Utah Senate pays tribute to our citizens who serve and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of freedom.

– Sen. Todd Weiler