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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 21, 2022 04:27 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Follow the Active Duty Spouse Act
Please join me in co-sponsoring the reintroduction of the Follow the Active Duty Spouse Act. This bill was introduced as SB 304 in the previous legislative session and seeks to protect the Unemployment Compensation (UC) rights of spouses of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces.

Currently, if an active duty member of the Armed Forces is transferred to a new duty station, and if, as a result, his or her spouse is forced to resign their employment, it is possible under Pennsylvania law that the resignation would be considered voluntary. Generally, workers who voluntarily leave employment without a “necessitous and compelling” reason run the risk that they will not qualify for UC benefits.

This legislation would clarify that a spouse’s move to follow his or her active duty spouse will not be considered voluntary if the Department of Labor and Industry determines that continued employment would be impractical or unreasonably difficult.

Pennsylvania is one of only four states (the others being Idaho, Louisiana, and North Dakota) that does not have a specific military spouse clause. According to data from the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are nearly 2,000 military spouses in Pennsylvania. Based on data from states that actually track the unemployment claims of military spouses, the estimated annual impact on Pennsylvania’s UC system would be less than $100,000.

Co-sponsors of SB 304 from last session were Senators Argall, Aument, Boscola, Brewster, Browne, Costa, Fontana, Gordner, Haywood, Hughes, Martin, Phillips-Hill, Scavello, Schwank, Tartaglione, Vogel, J. Ward, K. Ward.

While we have recently done important work to improve the relevance and portability of occupational licensure, this change to our UC law will further support our military families.  
Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB1083