Permanent change of station orders aren’t always given on a family-friendly schedule. However, a bill recently introduced to the House by Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, seeks to give military families more flexibility.
“Military families make great sacrifices when relocating and transitioning to new schools, jobs and communities, and we must do all we can to help ease their burden,” says Stefanik on her website.
The Military Family Stability Act, H.R. 279, aims to improve the process when a military family receives orders for a PCS report date.
The bill would:
- Allow military spouses to continue working for up to six months in their current job, or move early to the next location to pursue job opportunities.
- Enable military spouses to complete degree, certification or license-granting programs within six months before moving to their next duty station.
- Allow service members’ children to remain in their current school, or move early to the duty location to begin school during a natural break in semesters.
- Increase flexibility for those caring for a family member with a chronic or long-term illness.
The option would be available for service members to use up to three times in their military career, and it would only be open to service members with more than 24 months left to serve. If passed, change would be applied across all branches of the military.
A Change is Long Overdue
“With regard to military families, the military structure is nearly the same as it was in the 1950s. It goes without saying, our culture has changed dramatically, as have families. Today, the norm is a dual-income family. More military spouses are working than ever before and yet the unemployment rate for these spouses is nearly 26 percent – more than three times the national average. Much of this is due to constant relocations,” states the National Military Family Association on its web page of support for the Military Family Stability Act.
The bill was introduced Jan. 4 and referred to the House Committee on Armed Services. It was previously introduced by Rep. Chris Gibson, also a Republican from New York, in the 114th Congress, and was supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Officers Association of America, Veterans Support Foundation, Military Child Education Coalition, Blue Star Families and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, among others.
Would the Military Family Stability Act make it easier for your family to deal with PCS moves?