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Reservist veterans returning from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have a special set of rights granted to them by the federal government to insure that those who have sacrificed so much are able to go back to work, and not be penalized for the time they spent deployed and away from their jobs. Returning veterans are guaranteed the same status and rights at their workplace as any non-military employee who has been on leave or furlough. These rights are protected for five years while deployed.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

USERRA safeguards the rights of service members in several ways. First, USERRA requires that returning reservists are placed into the position they would have attained if they had remained on the job during employment. This “escalator clause” as it is called guarantees “the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.” If additional training is needed for the veteran to go into the escalator job, requires that reasonable efforts be made by the employer to help returning service member employees to “refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for reemployment.” USERRA states that the employer of a returning reservist must provide an alternative job, if the service member cannot qualify for the escalator position.

USERRA provides for our wounded warriors. USERRA requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. If a service member is still recovering from injuries received on active duty, they have up to two years to return to work or apply for reemployment.  If you are a returning reservist, thank you for your service. The sacrifices that you and your families made during your deployment deserve the highest respect from the rest of us. If you have had difficulty in returning to work upon your return, more information is available at http://www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/contacts/main.htm.