Veterans Day is observed each year on November 11th as a time to honor and thank all those who served in the United States Armed Forces. As we honor our veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice, it's also a good time to consider how employers can support our nation's veterans as they transition out of the services and pursue civilian careers.
What Qualities Can Veterans Bring to Your Business?
- A Fast Learning Curve. Veterans learn new skills and concepts quickly. They know how to be flexible and can adapt to meet the constantly changing needs of the workplace.
- Leadership. The military trains people to accept and discharge responsibility for other people, for activities, for resources and for one's own behavior. This training includes setting an example, giving carefully considered direction, inspiring leadership capabilities in others, and continually motivating others.
- Teamwork. Almost all military activity is performed with the assistance, coordination, and awareness of other persons or other units. Veterans know how teamwork grows out of a responsibility to your peers.
- Diversity in Action. Veterans have learned to work with people of different backgrounds and with people of different mental and physical abilities.
- Efficient Performance Under Pressure. Veterans work with tight schedules and limited resources. They know how to finish jobs on time and under stress. They know how to stay with a task until it is done right.
- Respect for Procedures. Service members know how to work under supervision and can relate and respond favorably to others. They understand accountability for their actions and for their subordinates' actions.
- Technology and Globalization. Veterans keep on top of international and technical trends in the business world.
- Integrity. Veterans know what it means to do "an honest day's work." They have a track record of integrity, including security clearances.
- Recognition of Safety Standards. Service members understand the considerable cost in lives, property and objectives when safety is ignored. Both the control and the emphasis on safety are valued in the civilian workforce.
- Triumph Over Adversity. Veterans beat the odds. They have been in tough situations and may have overcome a disability. Carefully considered objectives, strengths and limitations of other people, resources, time schedules, supplies, logistics and various other factors are always considered.
Tax Credits Are Available 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 to include new groups of qualifying veterans. To take advantage of the tax credit, a newly hired qualified veteran must begin work by Jan. 1, 2013.
The amount of the credit—which can be as high as $9,600 for a disabled veteran—depends on several factors, including the length of the veteran's unemployment before hire, the number of hours worked (note that a qualified veteran must work at least 120 hours for any credit to apply), and the veteran's first-year wages.
How to Claim the WOTC
Before an employer can claim the tax credit, it must request and receive certification from a state workforce agency (SWA) by submitting the required forms not later than 28 days after the veteran begins work. Instructions are available which explain the necessary forms for employers. After the required certification is secured from the SWA, for-profit employers claim the tax credit as a general business credit against their income tax.
For More Information
Visit the Veterans' Employment and Training Service for more information about hiring veterans. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides a helpful brochure on The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Solution. You can also check out our Recruitment & Hiring section for ideas on attracting qualified applicants.
And don't forget to download our FREE Personnel Recordkeeping Guide—a great resource for keeping up-to-date with your federal recordkeeping obligations.
Image Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery