Today, many employers find themselves with a member of the military on staff. These Reserve soldiers may be members of the National Guard or Reserve forces from any branch of the military – in fact, they comprise approximately 48% of America’s available soldiers. Civilian employers play a significant role in the defense of our nation by how they treat these Reserve soldiers and in the type of workplace environment they create to show support in the time spent away from their jobs to defend the nation.
LLoyd recently had the privilege of working with a talented Information Technology candidate who is also a commissioned officer in the Air Force Reserve. Christian Castro from Verona, New Jersey is a Project Management Professional with a strong background in a clinical healthcare environment and extensive experience implementing ambulatory electronic medical record (EMR) systems and integrations. Upon reviewing Christian’s resume and interviewing him, LLoyd’s Vice President of IT Talent, Brian Green, CSP, referred him for a search he was conducting on behalf of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
On the very day NSLIJ extended a job offer to Christian, he learned he was to ship out within days overseas. Although he had not yet started the new position, North Shore-LIJ immediately relayed to Brian that they would hold the job open for Christian until his return. During the six months Christian spent at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, he regularly kept in touch with LLoyd via Facebook and email. Now that he is back, Christian is happily settled into his new role as a Project Manager at North Shore–LIJ Health System. He was able to perform his military commitment knowing he was coming home to the security of a job that was waiting for him. Says Castro,
“Knowing I had a position upon my return put my mind at ease and allowed me to focus on performing my military duties to the best of my ability. I feel very fortunate to be working for North Shore LIJ Health System”.
As more and more soldiers come home and perhaps remain on-call, it is critical that companies understand and abide by the laws that govern our soldiers in these situations. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is the main law governing the employment rights of employees on military duty.
Here are its core components:
- Upon return from military duty, a veteran or employee who is still in the military is entitled to whatever position he or she would have attained with reasonable certainty if the military service had not occurred.
- A veteran may not be discharged or subjected to adverse employment action for one year after the date of reinstatement, except for cause; the same rule applies to service in the reserves or National Guard.
- Employers must provide up to 24 months of health plan coverage to employees when they are absent on military leave. When the veteran returns, the employer must immediately cover the veteran under the employer’s health plan, assuming the veteran was covered prior to the leave.
- Seniority under an employer’s pension plan must continue to accrue while the employee is on military duty. To the extent that the employer funds the plan, the employer must continue to fund the employee’s participation in the plan.
- In general, if a benefit having to do with length of service would have accrued with reasonable certainty, had the veteran been continuously employed by the employer, the employer must award the benefit as if the veteran had been continuously employed.
- In general, the employee who returns from military duty must be in the position that he or she would have been in had there been no military service.
LLoyd is proud to work with our nation’s veterans. In August we launched a new program called “Deployment to Employment” which included free two-hour workshops for returning servicemen and women offering employment advice on how to successfully transition from a military to civilian workforce.
Here are some helpful links/resources relating to Veterans and Employment…
Employer Tool Kit for Hiring Veterans: http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/forEmployers/HiringToolkit
Employment Rights of the National Guard and Reserve: http://www.justice.gov/usao/nce/documents/EmploymentRights.pdf
Support for returning Service Members & Veterans living with TBI and/or PTSD to succeed in the workplace: http://www.AmericasHeroesatWork.gov/
Department of Labor – Veterans: http://www.dol.gov/vets/
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