Thousands of National Guard members have been deployed to help with efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.
Rep. Andy Kim wants to make sure all members of the military get hazard duty pay, including Guard and Reserve service members.
According to Kim’s office, Guard and Reserve members get just 1/30th of the hazard duty incentive pay that active duty members receive. The issue has taken on greater significance in the past week, as 23 governors have authorized deployment of the National Guard to assist in efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.
“Our service members who put themselves in harm’s way in defense of our nation deserve our full support, regardless if they’re active duty, or a member of the Reserves or National Guard,” said Kim in a statement.
Kim introduced legislation that would increase hazard pay for dangerous tasks, such as parachute jumping or demolition of explosives, for service members serving in the National Guard or in the Reserves.
“For these members of the Reserves and Guard, including those serving at our Joint Base, this pay is important; it puts food on the table and pays bills. I’m proud to work with this great bipartisan group to introduce this bill and look forward to getting this done for our men and women in uniform.”
Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In recent years, members of the Guard and the Reserves have been called up more frequently than in the past. Since 2001, utilization rates for members have gone from 0.41% to over 9%.
“Having retired from the Army Reserve with 31 years of service, I have seen the transition of the Guard and Reserve from a strategic to an operational force. The transition has placed the expectation and necessity for the Guard and Reserve to be trained and ready to deploy on short notice,” said LTC McKinley Williams, USA (Retired) in a statement. “Given hazardous duty in of itself does not distinguish between an Active Duty, Guard or Reserve Component members, I believe there should not be a distinction in hazard pay among Component members.”
The new legislation has received support from organizations like the National Guard Association of the United States and the Reserve Officers Association among others.