By Mark F. Kluger and William H. Healey
On this Memorial Day weekend, it is important to remember that this unofficial start to summer is not just all about barbecues and the beach (or “the Shore” for us Jersey folks). We want to remind employers about the laws that protect those who have served in the military and the benefits of hiring them at the end of their active duty service.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) applies to most civilian employers and ensures that employees who are deployed or must attend training are: (1) not disadvantaged in their careers due to time missed for service; (2) promptly reemployed upon their return; and (3) not discriminated against due to their service. The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”) imposes certain affirmative action and reporting requirements on employers that have federal contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more. In 2014, VEVRAA was amended to add provisions that benefit disabled veterans. VEVRAA’s protections extend to the post-9/11 era veterans as well those for whom it was originally intended.
There are many excellent reasons to employ our vets. Because we are not capable of thinking of 10 good reasons to do anything, we got help from the U.S. Department of Labor with the following top 10 reasons to hire a vet.
- Highly trained and able to learn new skills and concepts.
- Strong leadership qualities.
- Flexibility to work well in teams or independently.
- Experience working with diverse teammates and strong interpersonal skills.
- Ability to work efficiently and diligently in a fast-paced environment.
- Respect for procedures and accountability.
- Hands-on experience with technology and globalization.
- Strong personal integrity.
- Strong sense of health, safety and property standards.
- Maturity and experience with triumph over adversity.
What better way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice than to hire one of their brothers or sisters in arms. As of April 2017, post-9/11 era veterans were unemployed at a rate of 3.9% nationwide (5% for female vets) and 4.3% in New Jersey and 4.4% in New York. There are too many good, qualified vets in need of work who can be an asset to any enterprise.
We would be glad to answer any questions about compliance with USERRA or VEVRAA or to help with development of a military leave policy.
Enjoy Memorial Day—even though we got off to a wet start down the Shore. Thanks to all of those who have served, we’re very fortunate people—rain or shine.