Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), a senior member and former Chairman of the Small Business Committee, and Congressman Ron Klein (D-Fla.) today announced their introduction of a bill to support small businesses that employ military reservists.
The Small Business and Military Family Assistance Act of 2009 will provide tax incentives for small business employers who make up the salary difference for their reservist employees while they're serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. While many large businesses can afford to supplement the lower wages reservists earn while in active duty, small business owners struggle to offer the same service.
"Our legislation supports the small businesses that stand by our men and women in uniform when reservists are deployed. It keeps our service members employed and small businesses open for business. In the face of a tough economy, we can do more to support the employers and reservists who make such profound contributions to our economy and national defense," said Sen. Kerry.
"One of our most important responsibilities is to stand behind our military service members," Klein said. "This legislation does exactly that by ensuring that reservists and their families do not see a drop in income when they are called up to active duty. Many small businesses voluntarily choose to support our troops by making up the difference between military and civilian pay when one of their employees is called to active duty service. This is the right thing to do, and these businesses should be supported and rewarded with tax incentives. This selfless dedication to our service members proves once again that small businesses are not only the heart of our economy, they are the soul of our communities."
"MOAA strongly supports this employer wage credit extension as it recognizes the sacrifices American employers endure in supporting their activated Guard and Reserve employees," said Vice Admiral Norb R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret.), President of the Military Officers Association of America.
Small businesses employ nearly twenty-percent of all reservists who hold civilian jobs. Many employers pay their employees who are called up for active duty a salary differential. For example, if an employee was making $60,000 before being called up and makes $40,000 in the military, the employer will make up the $20,000 difference. Senator Kerry's legislation provides small businesses with fewer than fifty employees a tax credit for twenty-percent of the pay differential. The maximum credit is $4,000.