Military Labor: Feds move to protect troops' civilian jobs
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao has rolled out new rules that aim to make sure that troops called up in times of war can get their job and seniority back when they return to work.
Chao said that after a dozen years, the Department of Labor is finally issuing rules implementing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994known as USERRA.
"This legislation protects the jobs, health insurance, and pension benefits of our nation's citizen-soldiers and others in the uniformed services," she said.
Noting that 525,000 men and women have been mobilized in the war in Iraq, she said, "These brave men and women should not have to worry about their civilian jobs and benefits when they are on the front lines defending our freedom." Among the rules she is issuing are two key ones:
Eligible returning service members must be promptly re-employed in an appropriate position, which, in most cases, is within two weeks of reporting back to work.
Returning service members must be returned to the same seniority, status, and pay they would have attained if they had remained continuously employed.
"For the first time, all of America's employers and employees will have clear and consistent guidance on how USERRA applies to them," she said. "And the Labor Department will continue to back up USERRA with thorough investigations and aggressive outreach and enforcement."