Uncle Sam Wants You To Read The New Veterans Rights Guidance

By Allison Bell

The U.S. Department of Labor has published the first major, official guidance for employers, benefits administrators and others who must comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

The law requires private employers of all sizes to keep the jobs of employees who go out on military leave open for at least 5 years. Employers must give returning service members a chance to make up any retirement plan contributions they missed while they were away. The law also requires employer-sponsored health plans to give service members families a chance to buy continuation coverage while the reservists are away for up to 18 months.

At press time, Congress was trying to extend the continuation period to 24 months.

USERRA law applies both to members of the Guard and Reserve and to employees who sign up for regular military service.

The guidance points out that the health benefits continuation rules apply to group plans insurers and administrators as well as to the employers that sponsor the group plans.

The guidance also gives rules for determining how and when returning veterans must make up missed 401(k) plan payments.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, October 14, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.