We live in a world with a completely voluntary military, one that has served us proudly over the last several decades since the mandatory service draft was abolished in 1972. As a result, slowly more and more of our wartime needs have been shifted to the Reserves, and active duty slots are often now filled with mobilized reserve units serving the United States proudly during both peacetime and wartime. A person can serve in the military on active duty for a 2, 4, or a 6-year commitment, or they can choose to serve an enlistment in the Reserve branch of one of the five military services. But as a reservist, while we are actively pursuing the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important that the jobs that reservists that are mobilized leave behind are protected, so that the civilian careers of the brave reservists are protected and waiting when they leave their mobilization to return to civilian life.
The benefits that protect the Reserve Servicemember who is called to active duty are actually codified into law. A person who is called to active duty that is serving in the reserves can rest assured knowing that their job is protected, and will be waiting for them when they leave active duty service. It does not matter if the reservist is serving on an extended duty mobilization, or merely on two weeks active TDY training that every reserve unit does annually. The Uniformed Services Employment and Re Employment Act was first enacted in 1940 to protect the soldiers that were serving on active duty, to give them job protection for when they returned home. It was further made the law of the land in 1994, 1996, and again in 1998. In each case the United States Congress added provisions to the law to further protect Reservists and others that are called into active duty service.
The USERRA protects any Reserve personnel who are called to active duty service, but there are some provisions that apply. To qualify there are a number of things that have to be in place to receive the job protection.
-You have to actively be working in a civilian job.
-Your activation cannot be for longer than five years.
-You have to keep your employer immediately informed when you are activated that it is for military service reasons.
-You have to report back immediately after service to your employer.
-And when you are separated from the military service you were called to it must be for honorable reasons or conditions.