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September 01, 2005
New Law Aids Employees in the Military

Chapter 2005-48, effective July 1, 2005, helps bridge the salary gap for employees who are serving in the military and helps them hold onto any professional licenses that may expire while they're in active service.

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Salary gap grant program. One feature of the new law allows private employers whose employees are serving in the Armed Forces Reserves, or the Florida National Guard, and who were called to active duty after January 1, 2005, to apply for grants that will help bridge the gap between their private sector wages and their military pay. The Agency for Workforce Innovation will administer the grant program, which will help an estimated 1,200 employees across the state.

Amount of the grant. The bill limits each grant to one-half of the monthly wages paid to the employee at the level paid before the employee was called to federal active duty, minus the employee's active duty base pay, housing and variable allowances, and subsistence allowance.

How to apply. The Agency for Workforce Innovation, working against a deadline of October 1, is now developing a procedure for application and payment of the grants. The procedure is subject to legislative approval, however, and no grants may be issued before approval is granted.

Professional licenses. Another feature of the new law prevents professional licenses issued to members of the Florida National Guard or the United States Armed Forces Reserves from expiring while the members are serving on federal active duty. The licenses may be extended for up to 90 days after their return from duty, and if licenses are renewed within that 90-day period, the members won't be liable for late or delin-quency fees.

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