By Christiane Soto, Snelling.com
As stated in yesterday’s The Snelling Blog, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is intended to ensure that, as a member of the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other “uniformed services”, you are allowed to seamlessly return to civilian employment.
This law is not about finding you a new civilian job. Its focus is on providing that you are reemployed in the job that you would have attained had you not been called away for military service.
It is important to note that, in order to be eligible for USERRA “protection”, you must have had 5 or less cumulative service years (with some exceptions) in the “uniformed services” while with a particular employee.
As an employee, you cannot simply show up and expect to start working within the hour. You have certain obligations that you must meet. These include:
- Having provided – or had an officer from your command provide –prior written notice to your civilian employer that you are leaving to perform military service.
- Having received either an “honorable discharge” or a “general, under honorable conditions” discharge when released from military service
- Returning to work in accordance with USERRA guidelines. To be eligible for protection under USERRA, you must apply for reemployment within the following timelines:
- 1-30 days of service – report the next scheduled work day (allowing for travel time and 8 hours of rest)
- 31-180 days of service – apply within 14 days after completion of service
- 181+ days of service – apply within 90 days after completion of service
You Have Done Your Part – Now Here are Reemployment Entitlements
If you have met the obligations listed above, you are entitled to receive:
- Prompt reemployment
- Any seniority-related benefits. These can include a change in pension status and rate of pay as if you were continuously employed during your deployment
- Immediate reinstatement of health insurance for you and previously covered dependents with no waiting period and no preexisting condition exclusion (unless it was determined that this condition was incurred during military service)
- Any additional training needed to qualify you for reemployment.
- Accommodations for any disability you received (or any disability that was aggravated) through military service.
Documentation? What Documentation?
All veterans, upon release from active duty, are provided with documentation (DD-214, endorsed orders or a letter from your command) that establishes that the application for reemployment is timely, that it did not exceed service limitations and that the release from service was not a dishonorable discharge, etc.
However, the employer may not use a lack of this documentation to deny or delay reemployment. If documentation is provided later that shows ineligibility, then the employer may begin the termination process.
For more information…
This blog post is meant to be a high-level overview of USERRA. Any blog that tried to cover all exceptions and nuances would quintuple in size. If you would like to read/understand any/all exceptions, please refer to USERRA Advisor found on the Dept. of Labor’s website
However, if you decide that you do not want to go back to work for your former employer, Snelling can help! We have a successful track record of putting veterans –like you – back to work.
Snelling has all the tools you need, from
- Résumé writing
- Overcoming objections in the job search
- Creating a job search “battle plan”
- Removing military “jargon” from your résumé and vocabulary
NOTE: A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.