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.
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.