Service Members Shown Rights to Civilian Work

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Department of Defense proposed a rule to help inform service members of their rights involving civilian employment.
     The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The law seeks to protect civilian jobs for members of the military, and prohibits employers from denying them jobs because of their military status.
     The law applies to active military, as well as National Guard and reserve members. People who leave civilian jobs for military service are protected by the law.
     The Department of Defense proposed a rule that would provide information about the USERRA to service members and their civilian employers regarding rights, benefits and obligations under the law.
     The information would be provided through a program run by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency operated through the Defense Department.
     Under the rule, the ESGR's mediation program would provide military members with information about civilian employment and would ease the burden of the Department of Labor's extra cases involving service members.
     "Considering the National Guard and reserve forces make up nearly 50 percent of our military strength and ongoing global operations coupled with humanitarian response, civilian employers' support is critical to our national defense now more than ever," the department wrote.
     The rule would apply to former and current service members, as well as people who are applying for military service.
     Comments are due by Sept. 26.