The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) protects the employment rights of individuals who leave employment for military service, whether such leave is voluntary or involuntary. USERRA provides employment and reemployment rights for members of the uniformed services, including members of the Reserve and National Guard.
After completing my service in the military, what are my reemployment rights?Military personnel that leave employment have the right to be reemployed with their civilian job where the individual left employment to perform military service and the individual:
- provided advanced written or verbal notice of the service;
- served for five years or less of military service while with that employer;
- reapplied for employment in timely manner following service; and
- separated from service under honorable conditions.
Where these criteria are satisfied, the individual is eligible for reemployment and must be restored to the position attained (or comparable position) had the individual not been absent performing military service. The return to the position is with the same pay, benefits, and status they would have attained had they not been away on duty.
May I maintain my health insurance coverage during my military service? Individuals leaving employment for military service have the right to retain existing health insurance coverage offered by the employer for up to twenty-four (24) months while in the military. This includes coverage both for the individual and dependents.
Upon return from service, even if the individual did not elect to continue coverage during military service, the individual is entitled to reinstatement in the plan, generally without any waiting periods or exclusions, except for service-connected illnesses or injuries.
Does the law contain anti-discrimination protections for past or present members of the uniformed service? Employers are prohibited from denying initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any employment benefit because of an individual’s status as a past or present member of the uniformed service, their application for membership in the uniformed service, or due to their obligation to serve in the uniformed service.
In addition, the law also prohibits retaliating against anyone claiming or assisting in the enforcement of USERRA rights, even if the individual has no uniformed service record.
Am I entitled to receive a notice of my USERRA rights? Yes, employers are required to provide all persons entitled to rights and benefits under USERRA a notice of the rights, benefits, and obligations of such persons and such employers under USERRA. This notice may be provided by posting the notice, hand delivery, mailings, or e-mail.
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