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Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Reference Number: MTAS-490
Reviewed Date: 12/22/2022

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. § 43, was signed into law by President William Clinton on October 13, 1994, and modified in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2013. It is the latest in a series of laws designed to protect veterans’ employment and reemployment rights going back to the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 and the Veterans’ Reemployment Rights Act (VRRA) to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (20 CFR Sec.1002.2). The purpose of the Act was to protect certain rights and benefits for employees and establish specific duties for employers affecting veteran employment, reemployment, and retention.

On Jan. 28, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA), Pub. L. 110-181. Among other things, section 585 of the NDAA amended the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to permit a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to take up to 26 work weeks of leave (paid or unpaid) to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who undergoes medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is in an outpatient status, or is on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.” The NDAA also allows an employee to take FMLA leave for “any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.”

On Oct. 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed a defense-spending bill into law that also contained amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (NDAA 2010) expanded FMLA provisions relating to “qualifying exigency leave” and military caregiver leave, both of which now include time off to care for veterans.