Newsletters

EMPLOYER'S RESPONSIBLITIES TO VETERANS

3/25/2010 -

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,

Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows.

In the great hour of destiny they stand,

Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.

Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win

Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.

Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin

They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

- Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon, an English poet (1867-1966) and courageous veteran of World War I, earned a commission, fought bravely in the horrific trench warfare that was the Western Front and was wounded several times. As we can see in this poem, Dreamers, his war poetry is stark and evocative, revealing both the reality and the horror of war. In our time, we see America again at war on two fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we know that the brave men and women of our military services are bearing the brunt of the battle, both at home and abroad. Military veterans deserve a special reverence from all of us, for it is the soldier who stands between us and the enemy, between slavery and freedom. If we are safe tonight, it is because an American warrior is standing guard.

My brother Terry is a Brigadier General and a decorated Viet-Nam veteran. And one of my heroes. In 1969-1970, Terry carried the heritage of the Seay family into war in southeast Asia, as did his father and grandfather before him, and as did so many others of our family, going back to Joseph Seay of Virginia, soldier of the Revolution. While Terry was in Viet-Nam, I was, with great fortitude, and from the safety of an M60 tank, guarding the Czech border and otherwise preventing the Russians from invading western Europe . . . .

At the pinnacle of military honor, stand the 3447 veterans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor since it was first authorized by Congress in 1861. On September 29 through October 3, 2010, in Charleston, S.C., the Congressional Medal of Honor Society will honor the 95 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor our country bestows for bravery in military action, above and beyond the call of duty. The convention is called “Beyond Valor” and is presented by the South Carolina State Guard Foundation and The Citadel. My brother, a member of the South Carolina Guard and graduate of the Citadel, will help facilitate the conference and if you would like to attend or be a sponsor, either individually or as an organization, please go to www.MedalofHonorConvention.com.

“I’ll not let their mem’ry fade, Our debt to them is never paid.”

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES TO VETERANS

Most employers I know of are veteran friendly and many are themselves veterans. I can’t think of a time in my consulting practice where an employer was unwilling to go the extra mile with an employee entering the service and it’s my sense that American society today is keenly grateful for the service of our military veterans. So from a “best practices” viewpoint, employers should have a policy of accommodating the needs of employees who assume military service, both for active duty or reserve. From the standpoint of the employment regulations, employers are required to allow employees to go on military leave, to preserve their seniority while they’re gone and to return them to a similar position when they return. Employers who are covered by FMLA have additional requirements that apply to certain relatives of employees who are called into service, or in cases where employees are caregivers to certain relatives who have been injured or have become ill while in the service. Employers who are covered by Affirmative Action Plans are required to make special efforts to employ veterans and many employers have a standing policy of “veterans preference” in employment. Here are two Military Leave policies that we recommend for your employee handbook.

MILITARY SERVICE LEAVE FOR ACTIVE DUTY

At our company, we support and value our veterans. If you are inducted into the United States Armed Forces, please show your orders to your supervisor as soon as you receive them. All regular employees are eligible for re‑employment after completing military service, under the following conditions:

1. You must receive an honorable discharge.

2. Your military service was not in excess of five cumulative (5) years (with some exceptions).

3. You apply for reinstatement (a) within 90 days after release from active duty or (b) within 31 days after release from initial active duty for training of not less than three (3) months or (c) on the next regularly scheduled work period following other types of training duty, absence for induction or examination, or after rejection.

If you are an honorably discharged veteran, you will be reinstated in the same position you left (or a similar one in terms of status, pay, and seniority) and will receive full credit for time spent in the Armed Forces, provided you meet the above requirements.

MILITARY RESERVE OR NATIONAL GUARD TRAINING LEAVES

If you are a member of the Reserve or National Guard and you are called upon to serve a tour of active duty (usually two weeks but sometimes longer), you will be granted a military leave of absence for the time required. You should give your supervisor as much advance notice as possible of your intent to be away. If you wish, you may take your normal vacation during this time, but this is not required. When you return, you will be reinstated in the same position you left (or a similar one in terms of status, pay and seniority).

If you would like for us to review your policies that pertain to veterans, please send them to us and we will gladly do so and provide you with a report. We appreciate having you as a friend and client of our firm . . . and may God bless, preserve and protect our brave veterans.



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