By Sam Hananel

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at easing the financial burden of military reservists called up for active duty, a day after the Army told thousands of reservists that their time in Iraq would be extended to a full year - weeks or months longer than some had expected.

The Massachusetts senator's plan would give tax credits to small businesses to use for subsidizing the pay of workers who had been called to serve, and to hire temporary replacements.

Businesses with 50 or fewer employees would get up to $12,000 in tax credits, while manufacturers with 100 or fewer workers could get up to $20,000 in tax credits. Half of the money would be for salary differential and half for replacement workers.

"This tax credit is critical to immediately help the families of reservists while they serve our nation," said Kerry, a veteran who served in Vietnam.