Memorial Day is a time to honor the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. military. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on how employers can support today's veterans and returning service members in their transition from military service to the civilian workforce.
Veterans make excellent employees for a variety of reasons, including leadership and teamwork experience. In addition, there are often tax incentives associated with hiring veterans, including to help employers cover the cost of accommodations for employees with disabilities and to make their places of business accessible.
Benefits of Hiring Veterans
Veterans and returning service members bring unique skills and experiences to the civilian workforce. Because of the training, work ethic and goal-oriented culture of the military, many companies report that veterans not only make excellent employees, but also tend to have a higher rate of retention.
Some of the skills that veterans may be able to contribute to your company include:
- Ability to work as a team member and as a team leader;
- Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines;
- Ability to give and follow direction;
- Planning and organization;
- Emphasis on safety; and
- Flexibility and adaptability.
Finding Qualified Veterans
Don't know how to attract qualified veterans to your company? America's Heroes at Work provides a Veteran's Hiring Toolkit for Employers. Included in the toolkit is information on how to:
- Determine employment opportunities and create detailed job descriptions;
- Use military language in your outreach and job descriptions;
- Access credible resources to help you look for qualified veterans and wounded warriors who are seeking employment; and
- Know what you can and should not ask during an interview.
If you would like more assistance, please contact your state's Director for Veterans' Employment and Training.
Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit incentive for businesses that hire individuals from groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including returning veterans. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 modified and expanded the WOTC qualified veteran groups.
Tax credits can be as high as $9600 for a disabled veteran. The amount of the credit will depend on a number of factors, including the length of the veteran's unemployment before hire, the number of hours the veteran works (note that a qualified veteran must work at least 120 hours for any credit to apply), and the veteran's first-year wages.
To take advantage of the tax credit:
- Veterans must begin work by January 1, 2013, and
- An employer must request and receive certification from its state workforce agency that the new hire is a member of at least one of the WOTC target groups.
To request certification, an employer must complete and submit the required forms to its state workforce agency not later than 28 days after the new hire begins work. After the required certification is secured, for-profit employers claim the tax credit as a general business credit against their income tax.
For more information on hiring a veteran, please visit the Veterans' Employment and Training Service. You may also review the U.S. Department of Labor's brochure on The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Solution. Our section on Recruitment & Hiring includes more ideas on attracting qualified employees to your company.
Feeling overwhelmed by federal labor and employment laws? Learn which laws apply to your company with our 3-page, easy-to-understand Federal Labor Laws by Company Size guide that features the key laws companies must comply with based on their size.
Image Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery