Promising Practices for Employer Support of National Guard and Reserve Members
Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units. Veteran-friendly organizations have clearly defined and supportive policies and practices in place regarding their National Guard and Reserve member employees.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conducted the Veterans in the Workplace study on the retention of Veterans, including National Guard and Reserve members. The study, along with evidence from other sources, yielded promising practices for organizations to consider if their employees include members of the National Guard & Reserve.
- Use military recruiting sites to recruit members of the Guard and Reserve, Veterans, and their family members
- Attend military-focused job fairs to recruit members of the Guard and Reserve, and Veteran candidates
- Encourage Veteran employees to assist in the recruiting of potential members of the Guard and Reserve, and Veteran candidates
- Place an emphasis on recruiting candidates with service-connected disabilities
- Have a well-defined military leave policy
- Use the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) website for information and resources regarding National Guard & Reserve policies: www.esgr.mil*
- Engage with ESGR state committees on Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) issues
- Educate supervisors and management on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- USERRA Training can be found on the ESGR Website - www.esgr.mil*
- Educate supervisors and management on company military leave policies and practices
- Educate the employee (and family members) on policies and benefits
- USERRA Fact Sheet can be found on the ESGR Website – www.esgr.mil*
- Encourage supervisors to get to know their employees’ military commanders and supervisors
- Ask for advance notice of employees’ annual military duty schedule and work out conflicts as early as possible
- Assist Guard and Reserve member employees in translating their military skills into the organization’s career opportunities
Support during mobilization or deployment:
- Provide job-protected time away from work
- If possible, pay the salary difference during mobilization or deployment
- Continue benefits for employee and dependents if they choose
- Follow the USERRA guidelines for employee support during mobilization or deployment
Support for families:
- Maintain contact with service members & families through e-mail and care packages
- Have supervisors personally contact family members periodically
- Invite families to company social events and other functions
- Have an assistance program or affinity group for families of the employees that are called to active duty
Support for returning employee:
- Offer unpaid time off before the employee’s return to work, determined by length of mobilization or deployment
- Offer flexible work arrangements during the transition period
- Place returning employee back in same position or one of similar status
- Reintroduce them to their job on return; provide training to bring them back up to speed
- Provide free legal service to returning Veterans as needed
- Maintain a mentorship or peer-to-peer program to provide senior management assistance and career guidance and development of Guard and Reserve members and Veteran employees
Military service recognition of Guard and Reserve members and Veteran employees is a promising practice that should only be done with the employees’ consent.
Some ideas for recognition are:
- Display a tribute in a prominent place to honor employees who are Guard and Reserve members and Veterans
- Recognize and publicize their dedication and commitment to your business and the nation
- Send company-wide emails from the CEO and upper management acknowledging and thanking employees for their service in the Guard and Reserve; encourage other employees to do the same
- Send company-wide emails to announce the return of mobilized or deployed employees
ESGR website (www.esgr.mil*):
- Tips for Employers
- Employers Frequently Asked Questions
- Employer Resource Guide
- USERRA Fact Sheet
Veterans Employment Toolkit (www.va.gov/vetsinworkplace):
- Planning for Military Leave for Employees in the Reserve and Guard
- Example of a Military Leave Policy
- USERRA Advanced e-Learning Course
Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University & Corporate Gray. (2013). Veterans in the workplace final report. Washington, D.C.: Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Statement of Support Program." Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Employers Statement of Support. Web. 21 Mar. 2013. http://www.esgr.mil/Employers/Statement-of-Support.aspx.
Bullock, Tom, Chief, Employer Outreach, DoD ESGR. Email interview. 21 Mar. 2013.
Note: This material was generated by Corporate Gray and The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and is based on research conducted under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ contract VA101-C17232.