U.S. clarifies job rights for those called up by military

WASHINGTON – The Labor Department released final regulations Friday clarifying a 1994 law that protects the employment and re-employment rights and benefits of members of the armed forces.

The regulations are the first that explain the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. The law promises service members that they can return to their jobs at the same pay and benefits they had before their deployment.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, complaints about re-employment averaged about 900 a year. But as more service members were deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, the number of complaints increased, rising from 1,195 cases in fiscal 2002 – itself a 35 percent increase over 2001 – to a high of 1,465 cases in fiscal 2004. Complaints filed in fiscal 2005 dropped 9 percent .

“These brave men and women should not have to worry about their civilian jobs and benefits when they are on the front lines,” Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said in a speech Friday.

The rules state that a returning service member must be “promptly re-employed” in the appropriate position, usually within two weeks. An employer may not delay or deny a service member’s re-employment because the position was filled while away and no other position is vacant. An employer must also re-employ a service member even if a hiring freeze is in place.

Disabled service members are entitled to be re-employed in the same position they would have reached if they had not been deployed. The employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability if it limits the worker’s ability to perform the job.

The law prohibits discrimination based on military service and states that a service member who leaves work for military service has the right to continue existing employer-based health care coverage. The act also protects seniority, status and pay that would have been attained if the service member had not been deployed.

During the largest deployment of reservists and National Guard since World War II, many employers have been confused about what they had to guarantee returning service members.

“In the past, it’s been an issue of mostly either the employer or employee wasn’t really educated,” said Lt. Col. Louis Leto, director of communications at the Reserve Officers Association.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Schools still without water after service restored to Tulalip homes

The affected area included Quil Ceda Elementary, as well as Heritage and Legacy high schools.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

A view of a 6 parcel, 4.4 acre piece of land in Edmonds, south of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Housing authority seeks more property in Edmonds

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County doesn’t have specific plans for land near 80th Avenue West, if its offer is accepted.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

Most Read