Employment Law

On August 27, 2019, House Bill (HB) 2569 took effect. Enacted this spring, HB 2569 changed the state law that governs how people who have an occupational or professional license or certification from another state may qualify to practice their occupation or profession here in Arizona. This article highlights the differences between what the law used to say and what it says now.

 

THE SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) postpones or suspends certain civil obligations to enable servicemembers to devote full attention to duty and to relieve stress on family members. This document summarizes some of the SCRA’s key provisions and how servicemembers may exercise their rights under the law.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law designed to ensure that people who serve their country through military service are not disadvantaged in the civilian workforce. Historically, there have been employment issues when individuals were drafted or when Reservists and National Guard troops were called to active duty. They would return home and find they had been replaced, and no comparable jobs were available. USERRA was passed to hold employers accountable and prevent service members from being penalized for serving in the armed forces.

Enacted in 19941, USERRA provides employees who voluntarily or involuntarily take time off from work to serve in the uniformed services with up to five-years of job and benefits protection2. This document summarizes some of the rights and obligations related to the employment, reemployment, and retention of servicemembers under USERRA.

Military Caregiver Leave is an extension to the Family and Medical Leave Act, commonly known as FMLA. It authorizes family members of qualified veterans and active duty military personnel to take leave from their jobs to care for the military member or veteran who is injured or ill. To simplify this discussion, I will use the term “servicemember” to mean both active duty military, qualified reservists and qualified veterans.  The injury or illness must be serious enough for the servicemember to need a family member’s care for weeks or even months.

Prepared by Andrea Esquer, Student Attorney, and Marcy Karin, Faculty Supervisor, Fall 2010. This

document provides general information only. Please consult with an attorney if you need legal advice.

 

OVERVIEW OF ARIZONA’S TIME OFF LAWS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL

A variety of federal and state laws, policies, and programs provide military personnel (both servicemembers and civilians) in Arizona access to time off from work to fulfill a commitment to the U.S. Armed Services, including the National Guard and Reserve.

This document summarizes state laws that supplement the federal protections.

The United States military is an all voluntary military.  To encourage people to volunteer for military service, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) provides broad generous protection of service member’s civilian career. USERRA provides for job reinstatement to a civilian job after military service and prohibits job discrimination and retaliation in any employment decision based on military service.

An emergency preliminary injunction has prevented this change to go into affect. For more information read "The Uncertain Future of Overtime Pay for White Collar Workers." To learn more about what may happen continuing reading. The Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 531 et. seq.), requires that most jobs be paid an hourly rate of pay and that these jobs be paid at time-and-a-half the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 or more in the employers’ workweek. These jobs are called “hourly” or “non-exempt” jobs.

Background to The Fair Labor Standards Act of 2016

Since the implementation of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans have believed that our democratic way of life requires a fair wage for a hard day’s work.  That ideal was realized in the 1938 Act which provided for a minimum wage plus time-and-a-half for workers who worked more than 40 hours a week.  These overtime pay rules apply to most hourly workers and to some salaried employees.  In the early days, most salaried workers were covered by the law, but as the years went by with few updates to the overtime salary cap, more and more white-collar workers were left out in the cold.  They were classified as “exempt” from receiving overtime pay, and they often work many hours of overtime with no extra compensation.

Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) prevents qualified covered veterans from being discriminated against in the work place, while also encouraging affirmative action practices to employ these individuals.

The VEVRAA is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which evaluates a contractor’s affirmative action program and employment practices. In addition, the OFCCP also investigates reported incidents of discriminatory practices by federal contractors and subcontractors

For further questions and inquiry you may want to visit the interactive online Federal Contractor Compliance Advisor at: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/ofccp.htm

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, more commonly known as the ESGR is part of the Department of Defense. This department promotes cooperation between Servicemembers and their civilian employers. ESGR understands the unique talents of Servicemembers and helps both parties to the be aware of the rights and responsibilities of the other. They help Servicemembers through job fairs, and the H2H program which allows Servicemembers free access to job searches and other benefits. To learn more about this organization please visit their website at http://esgr.mil/.

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THE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT’S MILITARY PROVISIONS

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides unpaid, job-protected time off to covered workers. Covered workers are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year to care for themselves or covered family members, and up to 26 weeks to care for covered servicemembers. This document provides information about the FMLA’s military family leave provisions.

 

There is no doubt that returning veterans have a higher unemployment rate than civilians.  In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the civilian unemployment rate at 8.7 percent, while the rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was 12.1 percent.  The difference in unemployment rates for civilians and returning veterans was even more glaring for veterans between the ages of 18 and 24.  Their unemployment rate was 30.2 percent compared to 16.1 percent for civilians in the same age group.  Granted, many of these young veterans may have gone back to school, but the same can be said for similarly aged civilians.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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