Do you have employees who are members of the National Guard or who are military reservists? Many churches do. Church leaders should be familiar with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which specifies that a person “who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer” on the basis of his or her military service or application for service. The law applies to all employers, including churches, whether or not they are engaged in interstate commerce and regardless of the number of their employees. The law defines “service in the uniformed services” to include “active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty, and a period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of the person to perform any such duty.” The law only protects employees whose military absences from an employer have not exceeded 5 years, with certain exceptions. An employee’s reinstatement rights depend upon the time he or she is away on military leave.
This content originally appeared in Church Treasurer Alert, November 2001.