Generally if you gave proper notice to your employer before you left for active duty, upon discharge from active duty with an honorable or general discharge, you are entitled to return to work without undue delay. However, you must not be gone for a total of over 5 years. Absences which resulted from involuntary activations pursuant to 10 U.S.C. §12302 (partial mobilization) or from being ordered to, or retained on, active duty (other than for training) because of war or national emergency are not counted towards this 5-year period. Most periodic and reserve training does not count towards the five year total.
You must return to work or request your job back within the following time limits:
- If the period of service is less than 31 days, you are required to report for work “not later than the beginning of the first regularly scheduled work period on the first full calendar day following the completion of the period of service and the expiration of eight hours after a period allowing for the safe transportation of the person from the place of that service to the person’s residence.” 38 U.S.C. 4312(e)(1)(A)(i). If reporting at that time is impossible or unreasonable through no fault of yours (e.g., automobile accident on return trip), you are required to report for work as soon as possible thereafter. 38 U.S.C. 4312(e)(1)(A)(ii).
- If the period of service was 31-180 days, you are required to submit an application for reemployment within 14 days after the end of the period of service. 38 U.S.C. 4312(e)(1)(C).
- the period of service was 181 days or more, you must submit the application for reemployment within 90 days. 38 U.S.C. 4312(e)(1)(D). These deadlines can be extended by up to two years if you are hospitalized for or convalescing from a service-connected injury or illness. 38 U.S.C. 4312(e)(2)(A).
- ESGR FAQ
USERRA further provides for prompt reinstatement to your job, for maintenance of status, seniority and most pension rights (you should be treated as if you had never left your job), refresher training and accommodations of service-connected disabilities, a period of protection from being fired (other than for cause), immediate reinstatement of health benefits, and other rights, including the right to sue the employer if your rights are violated.
If you have problem with your employer, before pursuing legal action, which can be costly and time consuming, you should seek help from one of the following organizations:
The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), (800) 336-4590 or (703) 696-1400. ESGR provides ombudsmen who mediate reemployment issues between military members and their civilian employers. http://www.esgr.org
The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), (202) 219-9110. The Department of Labor is responsible for resolving and investigating reemployment issues. http://www.dol.gov/vets/welcome.html