Q. We are aware of the increasing number of veterans who are returning to the workforce and applying for positions. We are interested in hiring veterans and would like to know if there are any incentives for hiring them.
A. In November 2011, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act. The purpose of this act is to decrease the unemployment rate among veterans and to encourage employers to hire them. It provides tax incentives for employers that hire veterans.
Specifically, the act provides a tax credit of up to $2,400 for hiring veterans who are unemployed for more than four weeks but less than six months and a tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months.
The act also provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed for more than six months. The tax credits are effective through Dec. 31, 2012.
Employers should also be aware that, in December 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a proposed new rule in the Federal Register to ensure equal employment opportunities for qualified workers with disabilities.
The proposed new rule would require certain federal contractors and subcontractors to have a hiring goal of 7% of their workforce for each job group to be individuals with disabilities. Note that the proposed new rule seeks to set an equal employment opportunity goal. Accordingly, this proposed new rule may persuade employers to hire veterans with disabilities.