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Reservists have job protection. (Employment).

With a potential call up of some 50,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists, the nation's citizen-soldiers and their employers should be aware of re-employment rights. The laws protecting reserve troops are the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940.

"USERRA protects members of the Guard and Reserve who are called to active duty by requiring that they be re-employed at the same position, or better, with the same benefits and seniority they would have accrued had they not been on military leave," said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Veterans Benefits.

The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act limits the interest rate on mortgages and credit card debt to a maximum of 6% and delays civil court actions, such as bankruptcies and divorces.

Employees called to active duty must notify their employers and report back within specified periods. For service of less than 31 days, Guardsmen or Reservists must report back to work by the next work day; for service of 31 to 180 days, they must report back within 14 days; and for 181 days or more of service, they have 90 clays to report back.

Reserve troops serving less than 91 days of active duty must be placed in their former job or in the position they would have attained had they not left for duty. Those who serve more than 90 days have the same rights, except their employer may place them in another job of similar status, seniority and pay.

But by law employers are not required to continue paying Reservists and Guardsmen while they're gone. Some corporations can and do make up the difference between their employees' salaries and what they're paid by the military. Reserve troops who are not compensated by their civilian employers can supplement their military pay by drawing on their military leave (15 paid days each fiscal year) and accumulated annual leave.

Though not required, the Pentagon began paying, as of Oct. 1, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premiums for its civilian employees who serve in the Guard or Reserve. This could affect some 113,000 federal employees. As of Oct. 2, more than 20,000 reserve troops had been activated.

For more information, access the Department of Labor's Web site, www.dol.gov., or the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at www.esgr.org or call toll-free 1-800-336-4590. Reserve troops who are students can contact the Service Members Opportunity Colleges at 1-800-368-5622 to inquire about their legal protection.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:military reserve personnel, being called to action in Afghanistan, should be aware of their reemployment rights
Author:Dyhouse, Tim
Publication:VFW Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:427
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