USERRA requires employers to re-employ returning servicemembers in the job they would have had if they had never left for military service, including any pay or salary increases, seniority, or other benefits the servicemember would have received. Employers are required to make reasonable attempts to train returning servicemembers in any skills required for re-employment, and must make reasonable accommodations to disabled veterans.
USERRA also protects a servicemember’s right to participate in employer-sponsored health and pension plans. Individuals performing military duty of more than 30 days may elect to continue employer sponsored health care for up to 24 months; however, they may be required to pay up to 102 percent of the full premium. For military service of less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the servicemember had remained employed. An employer who re-employs a servicemember must count the period of his or her military service toward the time required to earn benefits under an employee pension and benefit plan.
To be eligible for these benefits the servicemember must:
- Provide his or her employer with advance written or verbal notice of his or her military service;
- Have five years or less of cumulative military service while with that particular employer. There are important exceptions to the five-year limit, including initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency;
- Return to work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner after conclusion of service; and
- Not be separated from service with a disqualifying discharge or under other than honorable conditions.
The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of USERRA violations. For assistance in filing a complaint, or for any other information about USERRA, contact the U.S. Department of Labor VETS at 1-866-4-USA-DOL or visit: www.dol.gov/vets. For online interactive support visit the USERRA Advisor at: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/userra.htm.