September 28, 2001

DOL To Ensure Reserve, Guard Members Return To Jobs; Civilians Called To Active Duty Entitled To Return To Their Previous Employment

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced today that the Department of Labor will begin an education campaign for employers as well as National Guard and Reserve units, to ensure that civilians called up for active duty are re-employed at their previous jobs after completion of their military service.

Reservists and National Guard members who are called to active duty by the President have re-employment rights to their civilian jobs, as part of the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

"America is calling upon its men and women to serve in the defense of our country. The jobs these patriots leave behind are preserved and protected for when they return. This is what the civilian population can do to support our military and contribute to the war effort," Chao said.

Under USERRA, Reserve and National Guard members who leave their civilian jobs must be re-employed to the same position they would have had if their employment had not been interrupted by military service. They are entitled to all seniority and other rights and benefits determined by seniority that they would have attained if they had been continuously employed. For example, upon re-employment, a returning service member's rate of pay should include any seniority-based pay increases that occurred during the period of military service.

Employee benefits are also protected when a service member is re-employed. An employee who was covered by a health plan at work is entitled to immediate reinstatement upon re-employment. Similarly, pension rights are protected upon re-employment.

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