More than 175,000 reserve and National Guard troops have been called to active duty, putting a serious strain on many businesses. If one or more of your employees has shipped out, it's important to know your rights and limitations under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
USERRA basics: If an employee's military-related absence lasts less than five years, you must re-employ the worker at his old job or one with the same status, seniority, pay and benefits. All companies, regardless of size, must comply with USERRA. Reservists must notify you in advance of their absence and apply for re-employment in a "timely manner" after their return.
Another issue to decide: Should you continue paying troops on active duty at least a portion of their paychecks? Reservists do earn military pay while on activity duty, but the low pay grades mean many take a hit in the wallet. A Reserve Officers Association survey found that nearly two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are making up the difference in pay, more than twice as many as two years ago.
? Free E-visory report: 'Laws: An Employer's Guide'
For a free primer on USERRA and the military-leave issue, visit our Extra! Web site, www.you-and-the-law.com/extra, and pick up a copy of Military Leave Laws: An Employer's Guide.