CONNERS BILL PROVIDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO SPOUSES OF NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS, RESERVISTS ADVANCES

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jack Conners sponsored to provide spouses of New Jersey National Guard members and military reservists with unemployment benefits in certain circumstances was released 5 to 0 Thursday by an Assembly panel.

“When a reservist or Guardsman or woman is called up to active duty, it can put a huge strain on their family, both socially and — especially in the current economy — financially,” said Conners (D-Camden), a former Army National Guardsman and Army Reservist. “Providing a financial safety net for these families gives military personnel and their spouses one less thing to worry about during deployment.”

Currently, if a spouse of a National Guard member or military reservist is forced to quit his or her job to deal with a family hardship or extreme emergency as a result of an active duty deployment, they receive no financial compensation.

Under Conners’ bill (A-2136), spouses of active duty Guard members and reservists who quit their job to address extreme emergencies or family hardships would be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

“A shattered family or mountains of debt is a homecoming no military personnel should have to face,” said Conners. “Guard members and reservists helping to protect America’s interests abroad should be able to do so knowing that their family’s financial interests here at home are protected.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.