Mich.: New Law Permits Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Programs

By Diane Cadrain May 14, 2015
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The Private Employer's Veterans' Preference Policy Act (Public Act 508 of 2014), which became effective Jan. 14, 2015, allows private employers of one or more employees to adopt and apply voluntary programs that give veterans preference in hiring, promotion, and retention. The policy must be in writing and be applied uniformly to employment decisions regarding the hiring or promotion of veterans, or the retention of veterans during a reduction in the workforce.

The new law defines a veteran as someone who meets one or more of the following criteria:

*Service on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, reserves or National Guard for a period of more than 180 days, with release other than dishonorable discharge.

*Discharge or release due to a service-connected disability.

According to the website of the organization Legal Help for Veterans http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/, the bill was introduced by Rep. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, a veteran who served in Iraq and struggled for months upon his return to find employment.

According to the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Michigan is home to approximately 635,000 veterans – roughly 8.8 percent of the population. Michigan is 11th in the nation in overall veteran population, yet many of our heroes continue to look for work. Roughly 30 percent of these veterans are under the age of 55 and have decades between now and retirement age.

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.

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