There is such a law, with provisions for some escapes. But the law does not
require the employer to supplement military pay and benefits, and very few do
"Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy."
Edgar Bergen, (Charlie McCarthy)
"Close", but not exact. Just for starters, there are two separate conditions
where laws kick in. 1) a _routine_,*scheduled*, short-term call up (typically
_two_weeks_) for refresher/training purposes. 2) a unit 'activation' for full-
time, *indefinite*duration* (usually _minimum_ 6 months) services.
There have been a few cases litigated in the area, with defaulting employers
generally getting nailed to the wall.
For case 1), employers are required to hold the *specific* job open for the
reservist, _and_ to give =unpaid= leave if requested (so that the employee
is *not* required to consume 'vacation' time),
For case 2), employers are required to provide "equivalent" employment --
in terms of job duties, seniority, pay scale, etc. -- to the reservist, when
he returns from the active-duty call-up. It does -not- have to be 'exactly'
the same position -- could be in a different department, or reporting to a
different manager, etc.
'Fringe benefits', especially ones that are (at least partly) funded by
employee contributions are a sensitive area.
*MANY* employers, especially the _larger_ ones, make it a policy to go _well_
_beyond_ 'what the law requires'. The "cost is *comparatively* trivial;
it is good 'employee relations' to do so; and it doesn't hurt them in the
eyes of the public, either. It's the _little_ shops that have real problems
with compliance. If a call-up takes out 40% of your work-force (2 of 5
total employees), you don't have the choice of leaving the positions vacant
until the people return. Then, when they _do_ come back, you have to either
'lay off' those temporary replacements -- with the resulting damage to your
'unemployment insurance' rating, and greatly increased UI liability for the
next _five_years_ -- or you've now got a work-force of 7, instead of 5. If
you can't create enough work for all 7, you've got a problem.
For a large employer, like a Sears, they can usually re-work employee schedules
so that there is no need to take on any 'temporary replacement' employees.
They can simply assign some extra hours to some part-time employees. And cut
back on those hours when the called-up employee returns.
And, of course, a Sears is *far*less*likely* to have 40% of _its_ work-force
called up. They'll have _maybe_ a few hundred call-ups, out of a national
work-force that is probably well into 6 digits.
I'm _not_ picking on Sears with the above. The situation is near-identical
for *any* large employer.
Sears *is* to be commended for 'going beyond the requirements', and 'doing
what is *RIGHT*'. Both for their employees and for the country.
They can't fire a serviceman for being called to active duty, but they
don't have to pay them anything while they're not at work. Some
companies pay soldiers the difference between what the military pays
them and what they would have made had they remained at work- there is
no law forcing them to do this, it's just something some employers do
to support their employees. It's the right thing for them to do for
young families- besides being good PR, and probably a decent tax
write-off to boot.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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