Report: Veterans Hiring Preference for NYC Government

Report: Veterans Hiring Preference for NYC Government

While it offers credits for veterans in civil service applications, NYC government does not currently have a comprehensive veterans hiring preference for employment that applies to all agency positions. A total of 87.08% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important. 

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 Background. NYC government is the largest employer in NYC, as well as the largest employer of veterans and military reservists in NYC. NYC government officials have stated that employment for veterans is a priority, yet, as of the release of this report, none have proposed instituting a hiring preference for veterans across all NYC government agencies.

Civil Service vs. All City Positions. Many NYC agency positions are filled through civil service examinations in a process governed by NY State law that ensures that the hiring process is competitive and fair.[1] Veterans are exempted from paying to take NYC civil service exams, and NY State veterans civil service credits apply as described below. Positions requiring specialized skills, education, and experience not captured by civil service exams are filled by soliciting resumes, and there is no veterans preference involved in this process.

New York State Veterans Civil Service Credits. Currently New York State civil service positions (and by extension, NYC civil service positions under this law) offer point credits for veterans serving in designated conflict eras or zones (five points) and for disabled combat veterans (ten additional points).[2]

Federal Veterans Hiring Preferences. Federal positions offer point preferences for veterans with any service-connected disability or award of a Purple Heart (ten points) and veterans who served during designated conflict eras (five points). These preferences apply even those positions requiring a resume showing specialized skills, education, and experience.

Veterans Liaisons. Currently direct assistance for veterans and military reservists employed by NYC agencies is provided by a designated Veterans Liaison at each NYC agency, most often a human resources representative, who has received training from MOVA on veterans benefits and employment protections applying to veterans and military reservists. The knowledge and involvement of Veterans Liaisons, however, is inconsistent and varies by agency. MOVA provides periodic training for Veterans Liaisons.

Testimony on NYC Employment of Veterans. In April, the NYC Veterans Alliance offered testimony specifically on Veterans Liaisons within NYC agencies related to the employment of veterans and military reservists. The testimony differentiated between existing Veterans Liaisons[3] and Military Liaisons,[4] which may be different people but are most often human resources employees. We offered the following recommendations related to city employment of veterans and military reservists:[5]

  • NYC government should enact a veterans hiring preference, similar to existing federal and state veterans hiring preferences, for all city government positions in recognition of honorable military service and to reinforce the value across city government that veterans and military reservists make good employees.
  • NYC government should ensure that all agency Human Resources personnel, not just a single Veterans Liaison or Military Liaison at each agency, are fully trained on USERRA[6] protections for veterans and military reservists, and that Human Resources departments educate agency personnel—supervisors and veterans and military reservists alike—on these basic protections as part of annual training requirements, similar to the annual requirements for sexual harassment prevention and conflict of interest training.
  • NYC government should provide an informational brochure or packet–available in print and online–to veterans and military reservists employed by the city to notify them of the employment protections, benefits, and services available to them. Currently they may not even be aware that their agency has an appointed Veterans Liaison or Military Liaison specifically to consult with them on these matters.

Recommendations. NYC government has an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to veteran employment by becoming not only the largest, but also the best employer of veterans in NYC. To this end, we offer the following recommendations:

  1. NYC government should enact a veterans hiring preference for all city government positions in recognition of honorable military service and to reinforce the value across city government that veterans and military reservists make good employees. Current NY State civil service preferences for veterans should remain in effect.
  2. NYC government should consolidate Veterans Liaisons and Military Liaisons into a single position to avoid confusion while still meeting separate mandates by NY State and NYC laws.
  3. NYC government should provide training for all agency Human Resources personnel rather than only one or two liaisons so they are fully trained on USERRA[7] protections for veterans and military reservists. Human Resources departments should be required to train agency personnel—supervisors, veterans, and military reservists alike—on these basic protections on an annual basis, similar to current annual requirements for sexual harassment prevention and conflict of interest training.
  4. NYC government should provide an informational brochure or packet–available in print and online–to veterans and military reservists employed by city agencies to notify them of all employment protections, benefits, and services available to them. Currently they may not even be aware that their agency has an appointed Veterans Liaison or Military Liaison specifically to consult with them on these matters.

 

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