With approximately 1 million Reservists and National Guardsmen across the country, chances are your business employs at least one of them. These men and women spend one weekend a month and two weeks a year training for their military occupation. They may also be deployed for longer periods when necessitated by local or world events to serve alongside their Active Duty military counterparts.
While the rights of these personnel are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), there are many ways employers can offer additional support and flexibility to these staff members, creating a more positive work environment and increasing employee retention.
Below are five ways your organization can go above and beyond federal requirements to support Reservists and National Guardsmen in the workplace:
1. Meeting Military Supervisors and Commanders. Be proactive and get to know your staff’s military supervisors. This fosters communication between both organizations and reinforces your commitment to the Reservists and National Guardsman.
2. Offering Flexible Work Schedules. Instead of requiring staff to use paid time off, vacation, or leave without pay in order to participate in military events, some employers offer flexible work schedules to offset or make up a portion of the time away from the office.
3. Preparing Care Packages. Care packages can take many forms, and all military members look forward to their arrival when they are away from home. Have your company staff contribute to the contents of the package, and send it to staff currently deployed, their families, or other service members.
4. Hosting Employee Recognition Events. Recognizing your Reservists and National Guardsman around military-centric events and holidays, as well as with farewell and welcome home events are great ways to include the entire organization in thanking this workforce for their service.
5. Continuing Benefits for Family Members. Reservists and National Guardsman are entitled to continue employee benefits for up to 2 years while in military service, however, they may pay up to 102% of the full premium when supporting military assignments lasting longer than 30 days. Employers can waive this requirement and maintain benefits at current rates to ease the burden on the employee and their family.