Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Compliance

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The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that has been in place since 1994. For persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, USERRA ensures that they are:

  • Not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service.
  • Promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty.
  • Not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service.

In this post we provide an overview of USERRA compliance requirements.

USERRA Qualifiers Must Be Tracked Over A Long Period
The USERRA provides that qualifying employees can return to their job as long as two years after leaving military service, allowing them time to recover from the impact of the service on their lives. If they do return to their former job, seniority, pay increases, and benefit updates that were provided to other employees during their absence must be provided to them just as if they had never left. Because the return to work can be several years into the future, good record keeping is essential in these cases.

Expanded Definition Of Who Is Covered By USERRA
In 2006 the definition of who is covered under USERRA was expanded to include National Disaster Federal Services personnel, ROTC, Reservists, and the National Guard. For the purposes of this act, the definition of an employee is very broad, and includes part- time, seasonal, and probationary employees, and in some cases even independent contractors.

When deciding to join a service covered by the USERRA, an employee need only verbally inform the employer they are joining the service. No written notification is necessary. Also, because they can not waive their rights to come back, you must continue to track them until they have actually taken another position after returning.

Sage Abra HRMS can help you track of all the details of the employeeís position as well as all the benefits and pay increases provided to other employees in their absence. Auditors are being hired to visit employers to ensure they are in compliance with USERRA record-keeping requirements.

The national defense spending bill of 2006 covers next of kin who would have been eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)to take care of injured service people. An additional 12 weeks is allowed for a qualifying exigency, and does not affect their own FMLA eligibility.

Obligation To Post USERRA Rights
The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 requires employers to provide notice of the rights, benefits, and obligations of employees and employers under USERRA. To assist employers in complying with this requirement, the U.S. Department of Labor developed a USERRA informational poster to be posted at workplaces. The poster is available at: http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/USERRA_Federal.pdf.

Please call us with your questions.