Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) January 8, 2015 - Key federal and private efforts address future employment for returning military personnel.
According to 2011 White House estimates, over one million armed services personnel will return home during the period from 2011 to 2016. With the projected statistics in mind, President Obama challenged the private job sector to train and hire 100,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. Businesses met and surpassed that goal by August 2013 with 125,000 individuals hired.
Further efforts included the call for over 200,000 private companies that contract with the federal government to ensure their workforce, or a subcontractor’s staff, is made up of at least eight percent returning military personnel. Failure to meet that goal puts their contracts in jeopardy of being discontinued.
“The economy is slowly improving, but the job market has definitely not kept pace,” pointed out Timothy Coffey of the Coffey Law Office, a prominent Chicago employment attorney. “Returning veterans have rights. Employers have certain obligations and government incentives to hire returning armed forces personnel.”
The American Jobs Act is structured so that employers qualify for tax credits for hiring unemployed military personnel. The act offers up to $5,600 for hiring a vet under the “returning hero” program and up to $9,600 for hiring under the “wounded warrior” program.
Another act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), also serves to assist Armed Forces personnel find employment on their return to civilian life. USERRA protects veterans who leave jobs to serve their country and return honorably discharged. It does this by allowing them to return to their previous jobs, so long as they apply within six months after their tour of duty ends.
“Jobs must be held by an employer for five years,” explained Coffey. “Veterans under USERRA are a protected class and must not be discriminated against in relation to their past or current military service, promotions, worker benefits, hiring, employee retention or re-employment. Disabled veterans must be offered reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Additionally, veterans returning to work under USERRA are entitled to reclaim the job and benefits that they would have been eligible for had they not left for military duty. If that is not possible, employers must offer a comparable job. Those protected under USERRA are also exempt from “at will” employment classification for six months to a year.
“If a returning veteran is not clear about his or her employment rights, contact my office for assistance,” said Coffey.
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654