Employees in Idaho who are members of the state or National Guard or reserves most likely have two jobs: a position in the private sector and a position in the military. If you are called to active duty, you might be absent from your civilian job for months. But while you are gone, federal and Idaho laws protect your job rights.
Federal Protections: USERRA
Employees who need time off work for military service are protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law. USERRA prohibits discrimination against employees who are in the U.S. Armed Forces, have served in the military, or take leave to serve in the military.
USERRA provides valuable additional protections as well. It 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.)
Idaho Laws Protecting Employees on Military Leave
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 Idaho and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the military, you are protected by USERRA.
Idaho law provides that members of the Idaho National Guard or the national guard of another state who are ordered to active duty by their state’s Governor may take unpaid leave and are entitled to reinstatement. Employees must apply for reinstatement within 30 days of their release from military service. Once reinstated, an employee may not be fired without cause for one year.
Members of the National Guard and U.S. military reserves also have the right to take up to 15 days’ leave per year for training, under Idaho law. This leave may not affect the employee’s right to receive normal vacation, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, and other advantages of employment. To take advantage of this right, employees must give 90 days’ notice of their training dates.
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 Idaho 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.