USERRA & Your Veteran Employees

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

Hiring veterans is a great way to add a valued member to your team while boosting the bottom line. Known for their work ethic, leadership qualities, and technical experience, veterans can bring a maturity to your workforce not found among any other group. That said, when it comes to hiring veterans, it is important to understand the workplace rights for veterans and preferences to which veterans, reservists and National Guard members may be entitled.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual based on their status as a past or present member of the uniformed services. It is important to heed this Act and be mindful of the responsibilities reservists and National Guard members may have. The Department of Labor has an extensive guide to USERRA aimed at helping employers understand their responsibilities under USERRA and provides a notice that employers may post or distribute to fulfill their requirement to notify employees of their rights and benefits under the Act.

Some of USERRA's basic requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • Establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years.
  • Protection for disabled veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability.
  • Provides that returning service-members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service (the long-standing "escalator" principle), with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.
  • Requires that service members provide advance written or verbal notice to their employers for all military duty unless giving notice is impossible, unreasonable, or precluded by military necessity.

To learn more, you can participate in Department of Labor USERRA 101, an on-line introduction to the rules and regulations surrounding USERRA, or check out this VETS USERRA fact sheet.