February 02, 2011

Military, Family, Business Relationship Encouraged in Bipartisan Bill

Crapo, Klobuchar say award increases awareness in the workplace

Washington, D.C. - New federal legislation to strengthen the relationships between military families and their employers has been introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). The "Military Family-Friendly Award" is designed to encourage employers to create a work environment that is friendly to military families and recognize those that already make this effort.

"Employers need to know that Congress encourages them to assist working spouses and caregivers of members of the Armed Forces who are deployed and away from home, and to make sure those serving in our military know they have a stable work environment to return home to following their deployment," Crapo said.

"When our soldiers sign up to serve our country, their families sign up to sacrifice as well," Klobuchar said. "This common-sense bill encourages employers to embrace our military families in the workplace by keeping in mind the unique circumstances and challenges they face."

The legislation would establish an annual award that the Department of Defense can bestow annually on employers who develop and implement workplace flexibility policies and practices for military members and their families. Although several similar awards and programs exist in many states, this legislation would publicize these efforts on a national level and include them in military media outlets, including websites and newsletters authorized by the Pentagon.

This bill would authorize the Secretary of Defense to personally present the award to recipients. Crapo and Klobuchar said the legislation would establish an expenses-paid task force under the direction of the Secretary of Defense to administer the nominating and awards process, in a manner similar to other national awards such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award or the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence.

"Doing the right thing for those who give so much to defend our nation is to be encouraged," Crapo and Klobuchar said. "These efforts deserve national recognition, and this award would help see that these efforts receive the credit they deserve."