The Department of Labor has issued a guidance document to employers about protecting pension benefits of workers who temporarily leave their jobs for military service.
The goal is to help employers "better understand their responsibilities toward re-employed service members under the pension provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and related regulations," said a news release about the document. "USERRA requires that returning service members, on re-employment, be treated as though they did not have a break in civilian employment for the purpose of participation, vesting and accrual of pension benefits from their employers by reason of their absence due to service in the uniformed services."
"A returning service member is entitled to the seniority, rights and benefits they would have attained had they remained continuously employed," the document said. "Therefore, employers are required to determine a re-employed service member's eligibility for participation in a pension plan and the vesting and accrual of the service member's pension benefits as if the service member had not left for military service."
The guidance document describes employers' responsibilities using a question-and-answer format, and it offers contact information via a Department of Labor website and a toll-free phone number.