If you would like a booklet version of your USERRA rights, please contact the Massachusetts DOL/VETS office at (617)-626-6699.

General Questions and Answers about USERRA

What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act? 

Answer: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) was signed into law on October 13, 1994. USERRA clarifies and strengthens the Veterans' Reemployment Rights (VRR) Statute. The Act itself can be found in the United States Code at Chapter 43, Part III, Title 38.

USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when that person needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment to serve in this country's uniformed services. USERRA makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law and improving enforcement mechanisms. It also provides employees with Department of Labor assistance in processing claims. Specifically, USERRA expands the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for uniformed services duty and retain reemployment rights.

Must employers grant leave to employees called up by the National Guard or Reserve? 

Answer: Yes.

 An employee must be granted a leave of absence to perform military service.

Where can I go for assistance concerning my employment and reemployment rights as a veteran or member of the Guard or Reserve? 

Answer: Employment and reemployment rights for veterans and reservists are provided by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers and enforces USERRA. You should contact your local VETS office for help. You can receive USERRA information from VETS or file a complaint if you believe your rights have been violated. Another resource for National Guard and Reserve members is the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an organization within the Department of Defense that can provide information and informal mediation services.

I think I didn’t get a job because the employer didn’t want to hire veterans. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: Yes.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits all employers from discriminating against any veteran, reservists, or National Guard members because of his or her past, present, or future military obligation. The law also requires that employers provide reemployment rights after a period of active duty or training. If you think your rights have been violated contact your state director of veteran’s employment and training.

What are the basic reemployment rights when an employee returns following military service? 

Answer: The employer must promptly reemploy the service member. “Promptly” means within days, not months. Generally the reemployment position should be the one the person would have attained had he or she remained continuously employed during the period of military service

Does the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) require that an employee receive pension credit while absent to perform military service?

Answer: USERRA applies to a wide range of pension plans including defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Upon reemployment following qualifying military service, an employee must be treated for vesting and benefit accrual purposes as if he or she had been continuously employed. If benefits are tied to employee contributions, the employee must be allowed a specified period of time to make up contributions missed during the period of military service.

Does the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) apply to part-time employees? 

Answer: Yes.

Both part-time and probationary employees are covered by USERRA.

What is the law that applies to the job rights for Guard and Reserve members being called up for the current national emergency? 

Answer: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA can be found at title 38, U.S. Code, sections 4301 to 4333.

I believe my veterans preference rights may have been violated. Where can I file a complaint? 

Answer: Preference eligible who believe their rights under any law or regulation relating to veterans preference have been violated may seek information or file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Complaints must be filed in writing and within 60 days after the date of the alleged violation. A directory of VETS offices is located at www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/contacts/

Does the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) apply to very small employers? 

Answer: Yes.

USERRA applies to all public and private employers in the United States, regardless of size. It also applies in overseas workplaces that are owned or controlled by U.S. employers.

If an employee would have been laid off while he or she was performing military service, does an employer have to reemploy the person when the military service is completed? 

Answer: No.

The employee is “reemployed” in a layoff status with recall rights in accordance with the employer policy for recalls. The employee must be given seniority credit for the period of military leave up to the date he or she would have been laid off. If a complaint were filed, the employer would have a burden to prove the layoff would have occurred if the person had remained employed during the period of military service.

Is an employer required to pay an employee while the employee is on military duty? 

Answer: While many employers take the commendable step of providing all or part of employees' pay while they perform military service, there is no obligation under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) for them to do so.

Can an employer require an employee to produce military orders before granting a military leave of absence? 

Answer: No.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USSERA) requires that an employee or a responsible military official provide advance notice to the employer of military service. The notice may be verbal or written. Notice is not required if the giving of notice is precluded by military necessity or is otherwise impossible or unreasonable.

Must an employee’s job be kept open while the employee is on military duty? 

Answer: Employers are permitted to hire persons to occupy a position vacated  by an employee on active duty. However, the returning employee is entitled to reemployment upon completion of the military service, even if it requires termination of the replacement.

The ESGR Ombudsman program provides "third party assistance" and informal mediation services to employers and members of the National Guard and Reserve.

 

To reach your local ESGR Committee for information or assistance, contact:

* The ESGR Website at http://www.esgr.org
* Call ESGR toll-free at 1-800-336-4590
* Call your local National Guard or Reserve Unit

ESGR will refer you to DOL/VETS if unable to resolve or assistance 

If you would like more information about your rights under USERRA, Please visit www.dol.gov/vets go to programs and click on the About USERRA tab.

Should you or your employer require technical assistance and would like to speak to an investigator please contact the Massachusetts DOL/VETS office at (617) 626-6699

 

Information courtesy of DOL/VETS