As the present military call-up continues, it is becoming increasingly common for employers to be faced with one or more employees having to temporarily leave their employment to fulfill a military obligation. As such, it has become increasingly more important for employers to be aware of and to appropriately implement the federal law that governs the rights and obligations of employers and employees in such situations. That law is the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA) found at 38 U.S.C.A. § 4301, et seq. The failure to follow USERRA can have serious consequences for employers, and therefore, all employers should make sure that their current policies, handbooks and most importantly, their current practices when dealing with an employee called to fulfill his/her military obligation, are in compliance with USERRA. The following is an overview of some of the provisions of USERRA that employers should be aware of and adhere to:
Who is Required to Comply with USERRA: USERRA applies to all civilian employers (public and private) regardless of size.
When does USERRA Apply: USERRA applies any time an employee has been called to fulfill his/her military obligation. The employer is entitled to request and see the service orders and the employee is required to give advanced written or verbal notice unless the giving of such notice is precluded by the circumstances. In such instance, notice must be given as soon as practicable. USERRA provides protection for military leaves that last up to 5 years.
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