Paramilitary: July 23, 2004


For the last three years, about 15 percent of the 1.2 million American reserve and National Guard troops have been on active duty at any given time. For most of them, they are making more on active duty in the military than they do in their civilian jobs. But its important that the reservist have their civilian job to go back to when they are off active duty. To help make sure this happens, Congress passed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in 1994. This guaranteed that reserve and National Guard troops are guaranteed their previous civilian jobs, or similar jobs with the same level of benefits, when they return from active service. To make sure the law actually works, the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NCESGAR) was organized, and uses 4,200 volunteers (mostly reservists and National Guard personnel) to educate employers throughout the country, and get reservists who are having trouble getting their jobs back. That help extends to having contacts with federal prosecutors, who will go after employers who refuse to comply with the law. The NCESGAR also have contacts with local media and members of Congress, in case the prosecutors need a little encouragement. Since NCESGAR members are volunteers, they cannot be ordered to back off by some government bureaucrat. So far, the law is working and there have been few incidents of demobilized reservists being left jobless. 


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