During the past few years, the U.S. has witnessed a number of men and women going into and coming out of combat and support situations domestically and around the world. This is especially the case now that President Bush has announced additional troops may be sent into Iraq.
For employers, these comings and goings pose special concerns: How do you handle such situations? What leave should or must such employees be granted? What compensation and benefits should be provided? What happens when an employee returns from leave?
The answers to many of these questions are mandated by law, particularly by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
USERRA applies to all employers, regardless of size. It requires certain employment and re-employment rights and benefits be provided to employees who leave their civilian jobs voluntarily or involuntarily to serve in the U.S. uniformed services, including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, reserves for all these entities, National Guard and commissioned corps of the Public Health Service. USERRA also prohibits discrimination against returning service members on the basis of their active military duty or training obligations or any leave taken to fulfill those obligations.