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Interpret Military Leave Law in Most Employee-Friendly Way

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in Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Due to widespread confusion over the federal military leave law, the Labor Department issued its first regulations that try to clarify the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). While the new regulations don't impose new requirements under USERRA, they do help explain existing rules and emphasize that employers should read the law liberally in favor of service members.

Two key points that the rules clarified:

"Prompt re-employment." For the first time, Labor defined the requirement to provide "prompt re-employment" to returning reservists. The regulations say that "absent unusual circumstances, re-employment must occur within two weeks of the employee's application for employment." But if the employee is returning from weekend National Guard duty, "prompt re-employment" is the next regularly scheduled workday. "Prompt re-employment" after several years of active duty may allow the employer more time.

"Escalator position." The new regulations clarify that returning employees have the right to retain the level of seniority that they had before being called to service and any amount of advancement they would have received (with a high degree of certainty) if they'd remained continuously employed. You don't, however, need to put someone into a position for which he or she isn't qualified.

Read the new regulations, published in a Q&A format, at www.dol.gov/vets.

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