Employment Issues

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Employment Issues

National Employer Support of the

Guard and Reserve

The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and

Reserve (ESGR) is an agency

within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve

Affairs. It was established in 1972

to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and

their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising

from an employee’s military commitment. 

Today ESGR operates through a network of more than 4,500 volunteers

throughout 54 committees located in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam,

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 

For more information contact the National Council for Employer Support of

the Guard and Reserve. This agency

assists in promoting cooperation and understanding between Reserve component

members and their civilian employers.  The website of the National

Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, http://www.esgr.org

explains employers’ legal obligations. 

This site also

gives employers tips on helping their employees balance military service with

employment. In addition, you can download a copy of the useful “Non-Technical

Resource Guide to USERRA.”For

more information on Reservist policies, employer awards and recognition and

USERRA compliance, contact: http://esgr.org or the Reserve Officers Association www.roa.org and


up info for Reserve and National Guard

and Call up info for employers of Reserve and



U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)


Uniformed Services Employment and

Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Besides worrying about

home or car payments, ongoing civil court disputes and evictions of family or

dependents, active military persons are often concerned about whether they will

have a job to return to once their period of active duty is over. Fortunately,

the answer is usually yes. A

federal law known as the Uniformed

Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, or


(38 U.S.C.

Section 4301 and following), prohibits

discrimination against members of the United States military or those who serve

in the military reserves. This law

requires employers to reinstate an employee who has taken time off to serve in

the armed forces, including reservists called up by the President, if the

employee meets these conditions:

  • The employee gave the employer notice, before taking

    leave that the leave was for military service.

  • The employee spent no more than five years on leave

    for military service.

  • The employee was released from military service

    under honorable conditions, and

  • The employee reports

    back or applies for reinstatement within specified time limits (these limits

    vary depending on the length of the employee’s leave).

USERRA requires

employers to reinstate workers to the same position they would have held had

they been continuously employed throughout their leave, provided they are

otherwise qualified for that job. This means that your employer cannot simply

return you to your old position. Instead, the employer must give you any

promotions, increased pay or additional job responsibilities that you would have

gotten had you never taken leave — but only if you are qualified to do the job.

If you are not qualified, your employer must try to get you qualified (by

providing training, for example). You are entitled to the benefits and seniority

that you would have earned had you been continuously employed. For purposes of

benefits plans and leave policies, the time you spent on leave must be counted

as time worked. For more information on USERRA, go to http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/handbook/userra.htm or http://www.dol.gov.  The website of the U.S. Department of

Labor has fact sheets and frequently asked questions about USERRA.