USERRA Final Regulations Published

The regulations apply to all private employers and state and local governments.

February 7, 2006
The U.S. Department of Labor has published its final rules to implement the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The regulations detail employer obligations to reinstate service members to pay and benefits level they would have received had they not been in military service.

    USERRA provides employment and re-employment rights for employees who leave their jobs to serve in the military, including the Reserves and National Guard. It prohibits employment discrimination against veterans, members of the military service and applicants for service. Under it, employers must: reinstate service members within two weeks of release from duty; upon reinstatement, afford the same seniority, status and pay they would have attained if they had remained continuously employed; reasonably accommodate service-connected disabilities; and continue coverage under the employer’s group health plan.

    The final regulations explain the term "escalator position" in connection with a veteran’s right to the same seniority, status and pay upon return to work. A returning service member should ride the "moving escalator of terms and conditions affecting that particular (pre-service) employment" comparable to the position that would have been held had the service member remained continuously employed. Employers must also reinstate health coverage without a waiting period or exclusions. Final rules are available at USERRA_ final_Rule.pdf.

    Impact: The regulations apply to all private employers and state and local governments. With the final regulations, an updated poster informing employees of their USERRA rights also has been published.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

Workforce Management, January 30, 2006, p. 7 -- Subscribe Now!