Have you ever wondered what will happen to your City job if your Reserve or Guard unit is called into Active Duty? When you return to the civilian world, will you have to search for a new job? What can you do to ensure you'll be able to work again? The following is a brief summary of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

USERRA Summary

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), enacted in October 1994 (and significantly updated in 1996 and 1998), provides reemployment protection and other benefits for veterans and employees who perform military service. Under USERRA, if a military member leaves his or her City job for service in the uniformed services, he or she is entitled to return to their job, with accrued seniority, provided he meet the law's eligibility criteria. USERRA applies to voluntary as well as involuntary service, in peacetime as well as wartime, and the law applies to virtually all civilian employers, including the Federal Government, State and local governments, and private employers, regardless of size.

USERRA Continuation of Coverage

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides that if you are required to be absent from work for a period of time due to voluntary or involuntary military service or training, you have certain re-employment and medical benefits continuation rights during your absence.

You have the opportunity to continue your and/or your dependents medical, dental, and/or any optional benefits during the duration of your leave of absence, provided you continue to pay your benefit premiums. Non-payment of premiums will cancel your dependent coverage, if applicable, along with any optional benefits you may have selected. Civil service employees are eligible to continue their life insurance up to 24 months; non-civil service employees are not eligible to continue their life insurance coverage.

USERRA Eligibility

Reemployment rights extend to persons who have been absent from a position of employment because of "service in the uniformed services." "Service in the uniformed services" means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service, including:

  • Active duty (Including Reserve and Guard members who have been called up)

  • Active duty for training

  • Initial active duty for training

  • Inactive duty training

  • Full-time National Guard duty

  • Absence from work for an examination to determine a person's fitness for any of the above duties.

  • Funeral honors duty performed by National Guard or reserve members.

In order to have reemployment rights following a period of service in the uniformed services, a military member must meet five eligibility criteria (discussed separately below):

  • You must have held a civilian job.

  • You must have informed your employer that you were leaving the job for service in the uniformed services.

  • The period of service must not have exceeded five years.

  • You must have been released from service under "honorable conditions."

  • You must have reported back to your civilian employer in a timely manner or have submitted a timely application for reemployment.