Employees in Arkansas who are members of the National Guard, Reserves, or militia most likely have two jobs: a position in the private sector and temporary stints in the military. If you are called to active duty, your military service could stretch out for months. But while you are gone, federal and state laws protect your job rights.
Federal Law: USERRA
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that protects employees who need time off work for military service. USERRA prohibits discrimination against employees who are in the military, have served in the military, or take leave to serve in the military. But it provides valuable additional protections as well: USERRA requires employers to reinstate employees who take up to five years off for military service, with all of the promotions, raises, and other benefits they would have received had they worked through their time off. And, it prohibits employers from firing employees without cause for up to one year after they return from service. (For more information on USERRA, see Taking Military Leave.)
Arkansas Military Leave Laws
USERRA protects employees who serve in the United States military, including those who serve in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves, Army or Air National Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. If you work in Arkansas and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the military, you are protected by USERRA.
Arkansas law provides the same protections as USERRA for members of the armed forces (including the National Guard, militia, or reserves) of Arkansas or any other state. Members of the armed forces who are called to active duty have the right to take leave and the right to be reinstated to their former jobs.
If you have faced discrimination because of your military service, or you have been denied the reinstatement and other rights available to you under USERRA or state law, check out servicemembers.gov, the Department of Justice's website devoted to enforcing USERRA and other laws that protect the rights of those who serve in the military. You'll also find helpful information at the website of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve.