Snohomish County CM pushes pay differential ordinance for employees in military

Jun 30, 2021, 4:12 PM
Incoming plebes reapply their name tags on their navy white works on Induction Day at the U.S. Naval Academy on June 30, 2021 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring has introduced an ordinance to help county employees who currently serve in the United States Armed Forces.

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“So just to provide a little bit of background: A couple of months ago, I was approached by a county employee who also happens to be a member of the military, and he informed me that many counties offer what’s called military pay differential to their employees when they’re called into duty to serve our nation, and many private employers offer this as well,” Nehring explained on the Jason Rantz Show.

“But I was shocked to learn that Snohomish County does not currently offer this,” he said. “So I was able to work together with this employee and with county staff to draft legislation for military pay differential in Snohomish County. And the crux of the issue here is that when employees go on military leave, if they’re in the reserves and they’re called into duty, they and their families take a substantial financial hit due to the difference between their typical pay and then the lower wages they make in the military.”

Nehring thinks that’s wrong.

“I think our heroes who respond to the call to serve and put their lives at risk to protect our freedoms, at the very least deserve to not have to take a financial loss when they’re serving,” he said.

The ordinance he put forward will ensure that the county will pay the salary difference to the military members who work for the county while they’re serving the country.

So how many people does this impact within the Snohomish County government?

“Yes, we did an analysis of that, of the budgetary impacts, and we only have a handful of employees in Snohomish County that would be affected,” Nehring said. “I think it was six employees last time I checked. And so the budgetary impacts are negligible. But even if that number was larger, I still think it’s the right thing to do.”

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So far, Nehring says he hasn’t heard of any pushback, but the vote is not for another couple of weeks.

“We talk a lot about how we can ensure that we can employ veterans and employ members of the armed forces, but if we have existing policies where they have to take huge pay cuts if they’re in the reserves, obviously that doesn’t help to try to employ these folks,” he said. “So I think this will be a good tool to try to get more people on board and working for Snohomish County.”

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Snohomish County CM pushes pay differential ordinance for employees in military