By Keith BieryGolick Special to Federal News Radio
Active-duty military expected to be discharged under honorable conditions now can start their federal job hunt with one less hoop to jump through.
Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry released a memo Friday providing guidelines, facts and frequently asked questions for the VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act.
The VOW Act, signed by President Barack Obama Nov. 21, requires agencies to give certain active duty service members veterans’ preference when they apply for jobs.
As part of the old application process, agencies mandated that service members provide certification of release or discharge from active duty. But with numerous individuals beginning to search for employment prior to discharge, these procedures left many people facing an uphill battle to find a job.
OPM enacted the Vow Act to ensure these individuals did not lose the opportunity to be considered for federal service, Berry wrote in the memo, even if they didn’t have a DD form 214 to submit along with their resumes.
Now, active-duty military applicants can obtain a document from the military that certifies the service member is projected to be released from active duty no later than 120 days after the document is signed. If the certification expires, an agency must request other documentation acceptable under the provision in the law that grants the service member eligibility to veterans’ preference, Berry wrote.
Agencies can consider an outgoing service member who submits proper documentation in lieu of a DD form 214 for an appointment or preferential entitlement.
OPM provided a few other details in the FAQs, instructing agencies to grant service members’ tentative veterans’ preference, but to verify the individual meets the law’s definition of “preference eligible” before awarding permanent veterans’ preference.
Keith BieryGolick is an intern at Federal News Radio
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 8-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.