New Opportunities for Military Spouses
The burdens of joining our armed forces don’t just fall on the servicemember alone. Parents, spouses, siblings, and children may not be physically with their loved one on deployment or as they train, but they still make sacrifices right alongside them. They sacrifice the peace of mind of knowing their loved one is safe; the personal time they would otherwise spend together; the bonds with friends they leave behind every time they move; and quite often, the stable job, salary and benefits they would enjoy if they could stay in one place.
COVID-19 has only magnified these challenges, leading to lost income, fewer childcare options, and extended time apart. Still, military families continue to do what they’ve always done best: adapt, endure, and lead by example.
No hero should go unsung — military spouses deserve our praise and our action right now. They prove every single day how talented and determined they are. They have lived experience that makes them true leaders who will strengthen any organization they join.
So, at OPM, we don’t just want to celebrate military spouses.
We want them to come work with us…We want them to come work for you.
Our newly expanded and Congressionally mandated Military Spouse Non-Competitive Appointment Authority helps us do just that by creating new avenues for military spouses to join the federal workforce. It makes it easier for agencies throughout the government to offer non-competitive appointments to all spouses of active duty service members, and all spouses of 100% disabled or deceased members of the armed forces. It removes limitations — such as a relocation requirement, geographic restrictions, and arbitrary quotas — which caused this authority to be underused until now. As a result, this new regulation means more military spouses can find their place in the federal workforce, and federal agencies have a larger talent pool of highly-qualified people to hire from.
This expansion comes at a time when it will have a significant impact, too. Employers across sectors and around the world rely heavily on telework and remote work as a result of the pandemic, and the federal government is no exception. These have become the new ways of working, and OPM is helping agencies use these flexibilities as strategic management tools to better recruit and retain workers. This creates an unique opportunity for military spouses — while military families often have to move frequently, they can access their work remotely and remain in their federal jobs.
When military spouses are secure in their careers, their loved ones in uniform can focus on the mission at hand. OPM’s newly expanded authority empowers military spouses and ensures they have the tools and resources they need to thrive in all facets of their lives, including in the community, in the workforce, and at home. It’s one more way our grateful nation can say thank you for the sacrifices they make, and it’s also one more way OPM is ensuring the very best and brightest minds are meeting America’s needs in the federal workforce.
— Rob Shriver, Associate Director of Employee Services