New U.S. Department of Labor Guidance Helps Employers Manage Pension Obligations for Uniformed Service Members Returning To Work
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) has released a fact sheet to help employers better understand their responsibilities toward reemployed service members under the pension provisions of the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and related regulations.
USERRA requires that returning service members, on reemployment, be treated as though they did not have a break in civilian employment for the purpose of participation, vesting, and accrual of pension benefits from their employers by reason of their absence due to service in the uniformed services.
The VETS USERRA Fact Sheet #1: Frequently Asked Questions-Employers’ Pension Obligations to Reemployed Service Members under USERRA provides quick and direct guidance to employers and employees in a readily understandable format concerning the application of USERRA to employers that pay pension benefits as a percentage of total earnings of employees. It can benefit any employer seeking a greater understanding of its pension obligations under USERRA. It can also help employers reemploy and retain valued service member employees on their return from the performance of uniformed service in support of the national defense.
“Ensuring our service men and women enjoy the appropriate rights and benefits of their civilian employment on their return from duty encourages future service and provides for the security of our nation,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Sam Shellenberger of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). “No employer wants to lose a valued employee, and VETS wants to help both employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. This guidance seeks to do just that.”
USERRA encourages service in the uniformed services by eliminating or minimizing the disadvantages to civilian careers and employment. The law seeks to minimize the disruption to the lives of persons performing service in the uniformed services as well as to their employers, their fellow employees, and their communities. By providing for the prompt reemployment of our service members, and affording them the appropriate rights and benefits of their employment following their military service, we can achieve those goals.
The Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) is a cross-agency effort that complements the Department’s enforcement activities by strengthening and innovating compliance assistance outreach to provide employers and workers with access to information about their rights and responsibilities. In furtherance of that aim, OCI launched Worker.gov and Employer.gov, both of which, in addition to the Department’s elaws Advisors, address a range of employment issues, including employment protection for uniformed service members.
The mission of VETS is to prepare America’s veterans, service members and their spouses, for meaningful careers; provide them with employment resources and expertise; protect their employment rights; and promote their employment opportunities. Learn more about VETS.
The mission of the U.S. Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.