BEFORE YOU LEAVE: Communicate with your employer. Maintaining an open dialogue with your employer will help ensure that you both have reasonable expectations for what will happen before, during and after your absence for military service. Most problems result from miscommunication between employers and employees, so work with your employer to ensure that you both understand your mutual rights and responsibilities.
You have rights and responsibilities under USERRA. In order to be eligible for reinstatement following your service:
- You must provide prior notice to your employer that you will be absent from your employment due to military service. Notice should be given as early as you have information of your departure.
- You must leave your place of employment for the purpose of performing military service
- You must serve under honorable conditions for USERRA to apply
- You must not be absent for more than five cumulative years from any one employer, performing military service (with some exceptions)
- You must report back to work following your service in a timely fashion
Following is a checklist of suggested items to do or check into prior to your departure:
- Review Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Notify your employer, in person if possible of your activation. ESGR has sample letters that you may use a template to notify your employer of your service obligation
- The Department of Defense Instruction strongly suggests that you provide your employer with at least 30 days of advanced notice whenever possible.
- If orders become available, you may present a copy to the appropriate supervisor and Human Resources (HR) representative
- Review military and company policy with supervisor and HR personnel
- Determine whether you would like to use leave prior to or during your mobilization. Share this plan with your employer
- Update beneficiaries and family information
- Resolve pay and compensation issues
- Determine if you are going to continue or suspend any employer sponsored health care plans to include health, dental and vision plans. Notify your employer of your intentions
- Provide forwarding address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address
- Clear all employers owned supplies and equipment in compliance with employer's policy for extended leaves of absence
- Share with your employer your projected return to work date
- Keep a record of names, dates, and a summary of your conversations with your employer
- Thank your employer and supervisor for their support and cooperation - nominate them for a "Patriot Award" at www.esgr.mil, select "Award Your Employer," and fill out the form
This checklist contains suggested actions to do or consider doing prior to service, all actions are not required to gain or maintain USERRA protections.