COVID-19 impacts military spouse employment

U.S. & World News

WASHINGTON (WJBF) – Many military spouses have struggled to find employment. Many juggle family responsibilities and constant moves or permanent change of station orders while trying to have meaningful careers. Some military spouses’ careers were put on hold during the pandemic and resulted in reduced incomes in their households, according to Besa Pinchotti, executive director of the National Military Family Association (NMFA).

The NMFA collected data on the pandemic’s impact on military family employment, income and access to childcare. Regarding employment, 59% of military spouses reported job loss or reduced hours during the pandemic.

Pinchotti said the NMFA is advocating for a tax credit for employers who hire military spouses along with reciprocity for licenses in fields like nursing and education. The constant moves cause many military spouses to get additional education and training for their careers according to the states they relocate to.

“They are very often both unemployed and underemployed because they are so educated compared to the general population and yet still have a really hard time finding a job over again with each duty station,” Pinchotti said. “They’re having to reinvent themselves.”

Bana Miller is a military spouse and mother who’ll soon celebrate 17 years of marriage. She’s also approaching her 12th move.

“Every time we moved, I not only had to find a new house, and a new doctor and dentist and veterinarian, but I also had to find a new job.”

Miller has experienced resistance from potential employers when she said she was a military spouse.

“Companies didn’t necessarily want to quote on quote invest in a military spouse employee because they didn’t know how long that employee was going to stick around.”

Miller said working remotely has been a saving grace for her career and hopes other military spouses can find opportunities like remote work to keep their careers.

While there is work to be done to help military spouse unemployment, Pinchotti said people can help by hiring more military spouses in their communities.

“Military spouses are some of the most dedicated employees,” Pinchotti said. “They have so much loyalty.”

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