Pension & Benefits News New DOL guidance helps employers manage pension obligations for service members returning to work
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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New DOL guidance helps employers manage pension obligations for service members returning to work

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) has released a fact sheet containing questions and answers to help employers better understand their responsibilities toward reemployed service members under the pension provisions of the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and related regulations.

USERRA requires that returning service members, on reemployment, be treated as though they did not have a break in civilian employment for purposes of participation, vesting, and the accrual of pension benefits from their employers by reason of their absence due to service in the uniformed services.

The FAQs in VETS USERRA Fact Sheet #1 provide quick and direct guidance to employers and employees in a readily understandable format concerning the application of USERRA to employers that pay pension benefits as a percentage of total earnings of employees. It can benefit any employer seeking a greater understanding of its pension obligations under USERRA. The fact sheet also helps employers reemploy and retain valued service member employees on their return from the performance of uniformed service in support of the national defense.

“Ensuring our service men and women enjoy the appropriate rights and benefits of their civilian employment on their return from duty encourages future service and provides for the security of our nation,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Sam Shellenberger of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). “No employer wants to lose a valued employee, and VETS wants to help both employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. This guidance seeks to do just that.”

USERRA encourages service in the uniformed services by eliminating or minimizing the disadvantages to civilian careers and employment. The law seeks to minimize the disruption to the lives of persons performing service in the uniformed services as well as to their employers, their fellow employees, and their communities. By providing for the prompt reemployment of our service members and affording them the appropriate rights and benefits of their employment following their military service, those goals can be achieved.

SOURCE: DOL News Release No. 19-1433-NAT.

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