National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week

Service members are an important part of the civilian workforce

By Rena Gorlin August 9, 2018
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​National Guardsmen distribute bottled water in Flint, Mich., in January 2016.

​National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week, which takes place this year from Aug. 16-22, recognizes the civilian businesses, organizations and communities that support and value their employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. Whether these service members are participating in weekend readiness training or are deployed domestically or internationally for months at a time, all parties benefit from this support. 

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between service members and their civilian employers, to prevent and resolve conflicts arising from employees' mobilization, and to educate people about their rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). 

All SHRM-certified professionals are responsible for knowing the provisions of USERRA and maintaining compliance with it. U.S. Employment Law & Regulations is a component of the HR Expertise section in the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge. SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential-holders are also aware that the needs of active-duty military employees constitute a category of workplace accommodation (along with disability, religion, gender, etc.), as described in the Diversity & Inclusion functional area of HR Expertise

The need for appropriate information about how to support employees in the National Guard and Reserve has increased in recent years. According to Military.com, "employers are being asked to sustain a much greater level of employee absence and related consequences," and the resulting complications "are compounded by low unemployment rates, an anticipated reduction in the national workforce …. and a growing reliance by both military and civilian employers on small segments of the workforce with specific job skills that are in high demand." 

This week is a good time to learn about the numerous resources available from SHRM, ESGR, and other government, veterans, legal and labor organizations to assist both employers and employees: 

Rena Gorlin, J.D., is an independent writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

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