USERRA (Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act)

The USERRA is a federal law that protects the civilian jobs of those who are called to active duty (Active and Reserve). In addition, the law prohibits discrimination based on your military duty. This federal law applies to all in the armed services and those who are activated while serving in the Guard or serve in the Guard full time.

The USERRA applies to any permanent job that you had with any company, public or private, including the government.

In order for USERRA to apply to you, you must:

  1. Submit a letter in writing to your employer stating that you will be going active duty.
  2. Not be absent from employment for more then five years.
  3. Serve honorably while activated.
  4. Return “promptly” to employment after your service ends.

The protections include:

  1. The right to be employed in your old position regardless of whether there is an opening.
  2. The right to not use your accrued vacation time to cover part of your absence due to active duty.
  3. You must be treated as if you never left in regard to promotions, raises, pensions, etc.
  4. Your salary must be at least the same as it was before you left for active duty.
  5. Your employer must make a reasonable effort to train you on new equipment or procedures that were implemented since you left.
  6. There is no waiting period or exclusion for pre-existing conditions if you choose the company’s health plan
  7. If you served for more than 181 days, you cannot be fired or laid off, except for just cause, for one year.

It does not include:

  1. A requirement for your company to pay you while you are serving. Some companies choose to do this (and should be applauded for doing so) but it is not required by law.

These websites provide more specific information about the USERRA:

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

U.S. Department of Labor

Military OneSource

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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