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Senator Wielechowski Introduces Bill Requiring Leave for Military Spouses

SB 278 Will Help Give Military Families Needed Time Together

(JUNEAU) - Senator Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, Feb. 12 introduced Senate Bill 278, which will require employers to grant up to ten days of leave without pay to spouses of military personnel when their deployed spouses come home from the battleground.

"The timing of military leave from combat zones is often unpredictable," said Wielechowski.  "We need to make sure people can spend time with their loved ones when they are on leave from serving our country."

Wielechowski explained that the law will apply to school districts, state and local governments, and private sector employers with 20 or more employees.  It will allow the employees to take up to ten days of unpaid leave to spend time with their spouses before they return to combat.  It applies only to spouses of military personnel deployed during a period of military conflict in an area that is designated a combat zone by the President, and who are on leave from military deployment.

Current federal law allows some military spouses to take up to 12 weeks of job protected leave in similar situations, but it is limited to family members of the National Guard and Reserves.  Spouses of service members in the Regular Armed Forces do not qualify for leave under the federal law.

"By passing SB 278, Alaska will join California, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington in enacting similar laws to protect the jobs of military spouses," said Senator Wielechowski. 

SB 278 has been referred for hearings in the State Affairs and Labor and Commerce Committees.  No hearings have yet been scheduled.

Representative Pete Petersen, D-Anchorage, plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

For more information, contact Senator Wielechowski at 907-465-2435.

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