July 26, 1995

SUBJECT: Clarification of Military Spouse Preference Policy

In response to our query regarding two issues surfaced from the field, the Office, Secretary of Defense (OSD) recently released clarification of military spouse preference policy. One issue involves the application of spouse preference in relation to veterans preference. The second involves the Priority Placement Program procedure to require a three day break in service before appointment to a time limited appointment. OSD's guidance related to these issues is enclosed. Request you share this information with your civilian personnel offices to ensure proper procedures are being implemented.

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James M. Alward
Chief, Civilian Personnel
Policy Division


DATE: July 19, 1995
SUBJECT: Clarification of Military Spouse Employment Preference Policy

This clarifies two issues which have emerged recently relating to military spouse employment preference: the application of military spouse employment preference and its relationship to employment of preference eligibles as defined in title 5 united States Code (U.S.C.) 2108, as provided for in 5 U.S.C. 3309-3320 (veteran preference); and the selection of military spouses for temporary positions through Program S of the Priority Placement Program (PPP).

Department of Defense Instruction DOD Instruction 1401.12 of January 12, 1989, provides that military spouse preferences does not apply when preference, is afforded, would violate statutes on veterans preference. Therefore, in staffing positions which require the application of veterans preference eligibles who are also military spouse preference eligibles, when other veterans preference eligibles are also entitled to consideration. For example, if there are two preference eligibles among the top three candidates on a certificate of eligibles, and one of the veteran preference does not get additional preference. Application of military spouse does not get additional preference. Application of military spouse preference denies the other veteran consideration.

The second issue addresses a current PPP procedure which is being applied to military spouse preference eligibles referred through Program S. It requires PPP registrants accepting time limited appointments to take a three day break in service before appointment. While such action is intended to avoid obligating the gaining activity for severance and lump sum leave payments upon the termination of time limited appointments, application of this PPP provision to military spouse preference eligibles violates the policy of assisting relocating spouses with continued employment, without a service break and consequently denies them continuation of benefits. Therefore, this provision shall no longer be applied to military spouses who are selected for temporary positions through PPP Program S.

Additionally, registering activities are reminded to counsel spouses that registration for temporary positions means that acceptance or declination of a temporary position that is expected to last for at least one year, will result in the loss of spouse preference.

Please pass this information to you operating personnel offices.

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C.J. Kasch
Program Manager
Staffing and Executive Resources