Check out the new SHRM LegalNetwork.]. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is administered by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS Employees who take time off for military service or training have certain job protections under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and employers should note that USERRA may provide more-expansive rights than other employment laws. "Thus, it becomes important to carefully draft leave policies," she said. Basic Provisions/Requirements. The employee's pre-military service performance. Employees are covered even if they volunteer to serve. Again, this provision is further evidence that USERRA seeks to treat returning employees as if they never left their employment. Yes. The notice may be provided by the employee or an authorized military officer and doesn't need to be in any particular format (such as in writing). An unpaid leave of absence for a period not to exceed 5 years to perform any form of military service, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, called or activated, such as being placed on active duty, for annual training, and for training weekends. when an employee is not working at the worksite. Reemployment under Federal Law . "If the employee notifies you of his or her orders verbally, send an e-mail confirming the conversation," Weatherholt suggested. Supervisors may be aware of their obligations under Title VII, Voss noted, but they may not know that offhand comments about a service member's absences may lead to a discrimination claim. Employers must reemploy the service member if: USERRA generally allows employees to take cumulative leave for up to five years, but there are some exceptions, including for initial enlistments that … See 20 CFR Part 1002.153. This means that the employer should treat service members as if they were never away from work when determining what position to place them in, Zeitler explained. With respect to vacation time accrued before the beginning of their military service, USERRA provides that employers permit service members to use their vacation time, rather than take their military leave without pay. However, because some courts believe that USERRA previously was not clear about the existence of a time limit on filing a suit, some courts may consider claims to be untimely if the events occurred before October 10, 2004 and a lawsuit was not filed within four years of the events that violated USERRA. In the first class action lawsuit ever under USERRA, on April 17, 2008 the DOJ . Regarding paid-leave accruals, USERRA requires that if an employer typically allows employees on leave of absence to accrue paid time off, then employees on military leave also are entitled to accrue paid time off. $('.container-footer').first().hide(); Employers should keep in mind that returning service members have four basic rights, noted Cristina McNeiley, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Chicago. Under USERRA, your employer may not force you to use earned vacation or other leave. In 2008, Congress clarified that there is no time limit on USERRA suits. You must follow the USERRA military leave policy. The USERRA protects individuals that leave a job for U.S. military service from discrimination. $("span.current-site").html("SHRM China "); Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. The USERRA regulations provide job protection for veterans. Some employment laws don't apply to small businesses. 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