A recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling limits USERRA scheduling provisions for National Guard Members nationwide.
Under the USERRA or Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, employers must allow members of the military to take time off for National Guard duty and training. Other provisions of the USERRA apply to employees or former employees on active military duty.
The law also requires that employers prominently display a USERRA poster, even when they have no employees who are covered under the law.
The lawsuit involved the city of Mount Vernon, Illinois. Several city police officers were also National Guard members. In the past, the city allowed the officers to use their vacation, sick or personal leave for National Guard training. This allowed the police officers to collect their full city salary, plus military pay, for the days they were away with the National Guard.
In addition, in the past Mt. Vernon allowed National Guard members to rearrange their work schedules when they conflicted with military obligations. By “bumping” other employees, a National Guard member could arrange his or her days off so that on National Guard weekends, the employee received full pay from both the city and the military, (more…)
The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act or HEART Act requires employers to permit distributions from healthcare flexible spending accounts. The law prevents a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy for qualified reservists. Under the new law, reservists cannot lose unused funds, as can other employees under cafeteria benefits plans. Reservists must be permitted to withdraw the funds without penalty.
Under the HEART Act, benefit plan sponsors must amend cafeteria plans to allow distributions to qualified military reservists and notify all participants – not only qualified reservists – of the changes.
The law also permits active duty reservists to withdraw money (more…)
VETS is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The new regulations apply to “any workforce preparation, development or delivery program or service that is directly funded, in whole or in part, by the [U.S.] Department of Labor” as provided by the Jobs for Veterans Act of 2002.
This is especially important since most state departments of labor are funded at least in part by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Priority of service is an important acknowledgment of the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces,” said Charles Ciccolella, assistant secretary of labor for VETS. “The department’s strategic vision for priority of service honors veterans and eligible spouses of veterans as our heroes at home, and envisions that the employment and training programs funded by the department, including the workforce investment system, will identify, inform and deliver comprehensive services to veterans and eligible spouses as part of their strategic workforce development activities across the country.”
The USERRA requires that employers reinstate employees after active military service, even if the employee’s absence has been up to five years. In some cases, as with wounded veterans, employers are required to reinstate employees who have been absent even longer.
That is why it is vital for employers to have a USERRA compliance program in place.
USERRA, the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act applies even to employees who voluntarily resign to enroll in the military. It also applies to emergency workers such as police, firefighters and paramedics, who may be pressed into service or volunteer during times of natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
The USERRA also applies to employees who serve in the National Guard or National Reserve.
Employers are required to notify employees of their rights under USERRA. In most cases, every employer must display a USERRA Poster, even if they currently have no employees who are covered under the law.
The federal regulations require that employers furnish a notice of the complete, accurate rights, benefits and obligations of employees and employers under USERRA. Employers are encouraged to provide the notice to employees in other ways, in addition to the required poster. However, employers must be careful in selecting USERRA compliance products from a supplier. By law, the products must ensure that the full text of the notice is included.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently introduced the USERRA Advisor , a useful online tool for employers. The eLaws Advisor helps employers to understand a number of issues surrounding military service, including: (more…)
The federal Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) recently announced the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Priority of Service for veterans and eligible spouses. The proposed regulations apply to “any workforce preparation, development or delivery program or service that is directly funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Labor,” as provided by the Jobs for Veterans Act which was enacted in 2002. (more…)