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Labor Department Issues First-Ever Regulations Protecting the Reemployment Rights of America’s Soldiers


WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Labor today announced regulations, to be published Monday, Dec. 19 in the Federal Register, interpreting the law that protects employment and reemployment rights and benefits of service members upon their return to civilian life. This is the first time since its passage in 1994 that the Department of Labor has developed regulations to explain and clarify the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA). The department’s action is the latest in a series of proactive steps taken to ensure job security for the largest group of mobilized National Guard and Reserve service members since World War II. USERRA prohibits discrimination against past and present members of the uniformed services and establishes reemployment rights for service members who want to return to the jobs they held prior to service.

“Our citizen soldiers put themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedoms, and now it’s our turn to be there for them,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “These regulations provide comprehensive guidance on USERRA, which works to preserve the seniority, promotion, health care, pension and other benefits of our citizen soldiers when they return home to the jobs they left to serve our country.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, almost 530,000 citizen soldiers have been mobilized, and more than 390,000 of these National Guard and Reserve members have been demobilized.

The new regulations, drafted in an easy-to-read, question-and-answer format, explain how USERRA protects against discrimination and retaliation because of military service; prevents service members from suffering disadvantages due to performance of their military obligations, and affords them ample time to report back to jobs following completion of their service obligations.

The department is also announcing publication of the final version of the notice it provides employers for use in informing employees of their rights, benefits and obligations under USERRA. The notice, downloadable posters containing the notice, and the new regulations can be accessed at

In addition to the regulations, the Department of Labor has taken other steps since September 11, 2001, to reduce the rate of USERRA complaints, including:

* providing briefings and technical assistance to almost 307,000 service members and others on USERRA;
* providing an interactive Web site at


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