WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) today announced his bill H.R. 3943, Servicemember Employment Protection Act, was approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee during full committee markup yesterday. This bill amends the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to ensure those serving in our Reserves or National Guard who are called up into active duty are not disadvantaged or discriminated against after their return to their civilian careers. Committee approval clears the way for this bill to come before the full House for a vote.
“As a former Naval Aviator and business owner, I know the importance of ensuring our National Guard and Reservists can deploy when called upon without worrying about job security when they return,” Rep. Franklin said. “It’s been nearly three decades since Congress passed comprehensive re-employment rights for servicemembers, so this review and update is long overdue. I thank Chairman Bost and the Committee for their support and for advancing this commonsense legislation.”
“I was proud to see my friend Rep. Franklin’s bill, the Servicemember Employment Protection Act of 2023, pass out of our Committee today with bipartisan support,” said Chairman Bost. “This legislation is vitally important as more and more National Guard and Reserve units are being deployed overseas which means those servicemembers need the proper employment protections in place back home. USERRA does that and Rep. Franklin’s bill would modernize and enhance USERRA to ease the claims burden in the event a servicemember need to take their case to court. I look forward to passing this bill on the House Floor quickly on behalf of the men and women who serve our great nation.”
Under the existing USERRA, recalled Servicemembers in civilian jobs who provide proper notice and have not exceeded a 5-year cumulative service cap are entitled to certain protections. This includes the right to return to their position and to recourses if employers violate their reemployment rights.
Specifically, Servicemember Employment Protection Act strengthens existing protections by:
- Expanding injunctive relief if the servicemember demonstrates a violation and is likely to succeed in proving an employer violated their rights
- Mandating reimbursement of attorney fees in successful cases
- Increasing eligibility for medical leave if the injury is related to their service
- Requires GAO to report on internal reemployment protections and dispute processes in certain immune federal agencies
Last week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Economic Opportunity Subcommittee marked up and approved Rep. Franklin’s bill. The subcommittee also held a public oversight hearing on the effectiveness of USERRA and to examine the future of workforce protections for servicemembers on March 9, 2023.
You can read the complete text of the bill here.