Commentary | June 21, 2021

Mandatory training reminder: Veterans employment

This announcement is a reminder that supervisors and hiring managers of civilians are required to take annual Uniformed Service Employment training by July 31. New this year: Reservists are now also required to take this training.

The training will ensure you are aware of veterans' and reservists special hiring and reemployment rights under the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994.

Who must take annual USERRA training?

  • Supervisors/Hiring Managers of civilians
  • Human Resources professionals involved in the hiring process
  • Members of the Senior Executive Service
  • Employees who are authorized to recommend, take, or approve any personnel actions
  • Reservists
  • National Guard members
  • Ready Reserve members

How to take the training

The training courses are located in the Learning Management System, by going to "Catalog: Mandated Training," under Mandated Training B. There are two separate courses:

  • Course # 502294 - DHS Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Estimated completion time is 1 hour.
  • Course # 502434 - DHS Veterans Employment Training for Hiring Managers. Estimated completion time is 30 minutes. (This training is not required for Reservists, National Guard or Ready Reserve)

What is USERRA?

Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of Reserve components. USERRA prohibits employment discrimination against a person on the basis of past military service, current military obligations, or intent to serve.

USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years. As outlined in the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) webpage, “Your USERRA Rights as an Employee.”

Coast Guard managers should ensure persons who serve or have served are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to their service and are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty.

Supervisors should understand there are exceptions listed below to initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to a person based on past, present, or future service obligation. Exceptions to the five-year rule include the following:

  • Service required to fulfill an initial period of obligated service beyond five years.
  • Inability to obtain orders releasing the employee from service before the expiration of the five-year period, which was not the employee’s fault.
  • Service performed to fulfill periodic National Guard and Reserve training requirements and includes service performed to fulfill additional training requirements determined and certified by a proper military authority as necessary for the employee’s professional development, or to complete skill training or retraining (including weekend drills and annual training).
  • Service performed in a uniformed service if the employee was ordered to or retained on active duty under circumstances such as involuntary active duty, retention on active duty, etc.
  • Service performed in a uniformed service if the employee was ordered to or retained on active duty (other than training) under any provision of law because of a war or national emergency declared by the President or the Congress, as determined by the Secretary concerned.

Timeframes for Reporting to Work
USERRA also provides timeframes for most returning service members to report back to service or request reemployment. The time frames depend upon the length of absence:

  • Absences of 1-30 days: Returning service members are allowed travel time plus 8 hours of rest and then must report to work on the next work day.
  • Absences of 31-180 days: Returning service members have 14 days to contact their supervisor and request reemployment.
  • Absences of more than 180 days-Returning service members have 90 days to contact their supervisor and request reemployment.

For more information regarding guidelines and eligibility, contact your Human Resources Specialist.