The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a federal law giving rights to uniformed service members coming back to work for the same WRS employer. Members must be treated like they have been working under the WRS for the entire time of their military service, up to five years.
To get WRS creditable service for your military service under USERRA, you must have done the following:
- Told your employer that you were leaving to enter the military
- Returned to work with the same employer you worked for before your military service, within the time limit
- Left the military with a discharge that was other than dishonorable
- Gave your employer a copy of military papers showing the date of entry and date of discharge
To apply for USERRA credit, you and your employer must fill out a USERRA Certification (ET-4560) form and send it to ETF. Your employer should give you this form when you come back from service
The maximum amount of creditable service you may receive is five years, with some special cases. For exceptions to the five-year max, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor website or contact ETF toll free at 1-877-533-5020.
WRS Account Contributions
The WRS contributions are based on the amount of money you would have earned if you had not entered the military. When you return to work, you have the choice to make up all, some or none of the employee WRS contributions for the time of your military service. Your employer will match the amount of contributions you choose to make up. Your employer may not make your contributions for you (unless your collective bargaining agreement says otherwise). Even if you do not make up any contributions, you will still get all of your creditable service.
You do not have to pay all the contributions back at one time. USERRA lets you start making up contributions the day you come back to work and finish on whichever comes first: three times the period of military service or five years. USERRA only allows make-up contributions with the same employer that you worked for before you left for military service.
Uniformed Services Defined
The law applies to uniformed service in the:
- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard
- Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve
- Army National Guard and Air National Guard
- Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
- Any other category of persons designated by the president in time of war or emergency
It also applies to the following types of service:
- Active duty and active duty for training
- Initial active duty for training
- Inactive duty training
- Full-time National Guard duty
- Absence from work for an examination to determine a person’s fitness for any of the above types of duty
- Funeral honors duty performed by National Guard or Reserve members
- Duty performed by intermittent employees of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, when activated for a public health emergency, and approved training to prepare for such service
For more information about USERRA, please go to the United States Department of Labor website.