Posts Tagged ‘Veterans’

How Does USERRA Interact with FMLA?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

In today’s post, John Gupton, CAI’s General Counsel and HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team, shares important information with employers about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and how it interacts with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)  

john g editThe Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that provides reemployment rights for veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve following qualifying military service. It also prohibits employer discrimination against any person on the basis of that person’s past USERRA-covered service, current military obligations, or intent to join one of the uniformed services.

USERRA requires that service members who conclude their tours of duty and who are reemployed by their civilian employers receive all benefits of employment that they would have obtained if they had been continuously employed, except those benefits that are considered a form of short-term compensation, such as accrued paid vacation. If a service member had been continuously employed, one such benefit to which he or she might have been entitled is leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The service member’s eligibility will depend upon whether the service member would have met the employee eligibility requirements outlined above had he or she not performed USERRA-covered service.

USERRA requires that a person reemployed under its provisions be given credit for any months of service he or she would have been employed but for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service in determining eligibility for FMLA leave. A person reemployed following USERRA-covered service should be given credit for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service toward the months-of-employment eligibility requirement. Each month served performing USERRA-covered service counts as a month actively employed by the employer. For example, someone who has been employed by an employer for nine months is ordered to active military service for nine months after which he or she is reemployed. Upon reemployment, the person must be considered to have been employed by the employer for more than the required 12 months (nine months actually employed plus nine months of USERRA-covered service) for purposes of FMLA eligibility. It should be noted that the 12 months of employment need not be consecutive to meet this FMLA requirement.

An employee returning from USERRA-covered service must be credited with the hours of service that would have been performed but for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service in determining FMLA eligibility. Accordingly, a person reemployed following USERRA-covered service has the hours that would have been worked for the employer added to any hours actually worked during the previous 12-month period to meet the 1,250 hour requirement. In order to determine the hours that would have been worked during the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service, the employee’s pre-service work schedule can generally be used for calculations. For example, an employee who works 40 hours per week for the employer returns to employment following 20 weeks of USERRA-covered service and requests leave under the FMLA. To determine the person’s eligibility, the hours he or she would have worked during the period of USERRA-covered service (20 × 40 = 800 hours) must be added to the hours actually worked during the 12-month period prior to the start of the leave to determine if the 1,250 hour requirement is met.

For more information on USERRA, go to http://j.mp/er-ra.

Affirmative Action: Changes to Self-Identification of Applicants

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

CAI’s Manager for Affirmative Action Services, Kaleigh Ferraro, shares the latest updates from the OFCCP. Make sure you are compliant.

Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

New regulations regarding affirmative action efforts for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities become effective March 24, 2014. The regulation changes for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act will require federal contractors and subcontractors to make significant changes to recruiting and outreach efforts for veterans and individuals with disabilities.

One of the new and most controversial mandates will require federal contractors to solicit voluntary self-identification of veteran and disability status for applicants. This is a major shift for employers as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) previously prohibited such inquiries until after a job offer. The new rules require a voluntary self-identification opportunity be provided both before a job offer and after a job offer.

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, what does this mean for you and when will you have to make changes to your recruiting process? Until March 24, 2014, you can continue the same process that you have been following. You should continue to provide the opportunity for applicants to self-identify as protected veterans and individuals with disabilities after you have made a job offer.

When you implement the new self-identification requirements will depend on your Affirmative Action Plan year. If your Affirmative Action Plan is in effect prior to March 24, 2014, you can delay the pre-job offer solicitation of veteran and disabled status until the start of your next plan year. Contractors with AAPs starting after March 2014, must begin pre-job offer solicitation at the beginning of their 2014 AAP.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has provided sample self-identification forms that contractors may use. There are two forms available for solicitation of veteran status. The pre-job offer form requests applicants only identify as “protected veteran.” The post-job offer form provides the ability to identify for the specific veteran categories.

The OFCCP will also provide a standardized form for self-identification as an individual with a disability. Contractors will be required to use the language provided by the OFCCP. However, this form has not been released yet. You should note that if an applicant identifies that he or she has a disability, the organization should inquire if an accommodation is necessary.

CAI will continue to provide information about the new Affirmative Action requirements and help you understand the impact on your organization. For more information on these new rules, join CAI for a webinar presenting these changes on December 18, 2013. Register at http://j.mp/AAP3. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss these new rules, please contact Kaleigh Ferraro at 919‑713‑5241 or kaleigh.ferraro@capital.org.

 

Rally Your Troops for a Good Cause

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

In today’s post Pat Rountree, an HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team, shares several ways that your organization can honor veterans and military service men and women this veterans day.

Pat Rountree 5x7 300dpi

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Veterans Day is November 11. There is still time to make plans to honor veterans and military service men and women and thank them for their service to our country to preserve our freedom. They give their time, leave home and family, often see things no one should have to witness, and know that they may face injury or even death. This is a great opportunity to support those in your community through some personal recognition, or anywhere through cards or donations.

Ideas for honoring service – employers can help by considering and hiring veterans. Go to http://www.hireveterans.com to see resumes of veterans or to post your openings.

There are also ways to involve your employees:

  • Honor your own employees for their service. You can advise employees you want to honor them on Veterans Day and ask anyone who would like to participate to let you know. Certificates of recognition are available at http://j.mp/vv-c.
  • Give employees an opportunity to participate in an event or service opportunity for veterans. Attend a Veterans Day celebration and personally thank vets for their service.
  • Visit veterans at a VA hospital if one is in your area, or in hospices.
  • Send cards to veterans to thank them for their service.
  • Offer to match employee donations to the Wounded Warrior Project or other organizations that support veterans http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
  • Advise employees how they can volunteer personally to help veterans if they are interested, go to http://j.mp/vm-13.
  • Give a company gift to a veterans’ organization and make employees aware of organizations they can contact to give personally (examples: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion). There are a number of homeless veterans that need our help.

If you are interested in hiring veterans or need additional help with honoring the veterans and service men and women at your organization, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222.

 

Transitioning Returning Military Service Members to the Civilian Workplace

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Men and women represent our country every day as they serve in the military on our behalf. They are praised for their courage, loyalty and leadership but often return home to face a new set of hurdles for which they may be ill-prepared. One hurdle involves jobs.

Finding stable, secure civilian employment has been a challenge encountered by returning veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors.

Why is it that serving our country can act as a risk for future employment? The training and discipline military service provides should make any veteran an asset to future organizations. Veterans exude responsibility and professionalism, knowing their role is vital and that they represent something much larger than themselves. The leadership and work ethic they develop through their service are essential skills not easily taught in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, numerous companies recognize the benefit of employing veterans, but though there is an expressed interest, the process has been complex. Organizations have found difficultly both internally and externally. They are unsure where to begin their search, or how to prepare their staff to better accommodate and assimilate veterans into their ranks.

The Department of Labor has taken a proactive role in responding to this growing crisis by establishing an outlet to connect veterans with potential employers. The following six-step process acts as a reference guide for companies seeking veterans to employ and absorb into the company culture.

The Veterans Hiring Toolkit

Design a Strategy for Your Veterans Hiring Initiative – Become familiar with veteran employment by identifying the benefits procedure, the tax incentives and the recruitment and retention process.

Create a Welcoming and Educated Workplace for Veterans – Current employees can better relate to their veteran coworkers if they have a grasp of military culture, experiences and trauma through the proper training and education.

Actively Recruit Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Spouses – As with any employee, recognize the specific target audience you are pursuing and how best to reach them.

Hire Qualified Veterans and Learn How to Accommodate Wounded Warriors – With the appropriate orientation plan in place, plan to hire not just any veteran, but the right veteran for the position and for the company.

Promote an Inclusive Workplace to Retain Your Veteran Employees – The needs for recognition and challenge, and the desire to be successful in an organization don’t change for those returning from military service.  Therefore, it’s best to apply the company’s current retention plan across the board.

Keep Helpful Tools and Resources at Your FingertipsEffective and accessible resources can act as one of the strongest assets when hiring and retaining veterans. 

Thousands of military personnel walk away from active duty each year. After all that veterans have sacrificed for us, as a society it is our duty to incorporate them into the civilian workforce and lifestyle to the best of our ability.

For more information on veterans in the workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: U.S. Air Force