The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), which applies to virtually all employees regardless of size, protects the right of an employee returning from military service or training to be reemployed at his or her former job (or as nearly comparable a job as possible) with the same benefits.
These reemployment rights extend to employees who have been absent from work due to “service in the uniformed services” which includes—
The “uniformed services” includes—
Military employees are entitled to reemployment provided they satisfy all of the following conditions—
Importantly—eligible employees must be restored to the job and benefits they would have attained if they were not absent due to military service or, in some cases, a comparable job. This is commonly referred to as the “Escalator Principle”—meaning the returning employee gets to “ride the escalator” up to the salary or promotion level s/he would have achieved had s/he been present at work during the term of service. This also means that depending on your facts and circumstances—employees out on military leave might be entitled to paid leave from your company.
USERRA also protects past and present members of the uniformed services from discrimination and retaliation in hiring, retention, promotion and any other benefit of employment because of their military status.
Military employees who leave their jobs to perform military service also have the right to elect to continue their existing employer-based health plan coverage for themselves and their dependents for up to 24 months while in the military.
Employers are required to provide covered employees with a notice of the rights, benefits and obligations provided by USERRA. This requirement can be satisfied by either posting or providing each employee with a copy of the following notice from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Shulman Rogers attorneys are available to discuss this alert and this topic further.
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.
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