USERRA Training Webcast

USERRA Training Webcast


Reemployment Rights Act of 1994,
and if you say that five times, you’ll soon call it USERRA also. Basically, why do
we have USERRA? The purpose of it is to, as
you could see on the slide, it’s to encourage
non-career service and the uniformed services. It’s designed to prevent
discrimination against anybody who chooses to serve our country in a uniformed service capacity, and it’s also
designed to minimize the disruptions of those folks who are called to active duty
or who volunteer for training and take time out
of their careers. As we mentioned, it prohibits employment discrimination on the
basis to past military service, current and future
military obligations. In a nutshell what that means is, if we’re considering
hiring a candidate, we can’t say, well, he looks
like a really good candidate, but I see that he’s
in the Reserves and I think he might
miss a lot of work because he might have
active duty training, I’m not going to hire him. That would be illegal,
we can’t do that. There may be other reasons why we don’t want to
select that individual, but it can’t be because of, you know, their
military service. As far as their
current service goes, we certainly can’t
discriminate against anybody because of their
uniformed service, and we can’t take any future
reprisals against anybody because they were away serving our country, while, you know, we’re back here
trying to get the work done. It protects reemployment rights with pre-service employers,
for veterans, Reserves, and National Guard
members, and we’ll talk a little bit about the
kinds of service, that entails. And as we said, we can’t
retaliate against somebody, we can’t say well, you
know, I assigned Mary, you know, this big project
but she went on active duty and here I am at the
end of the fiscal year and I’m on the hook
for this thing, boy, I’m going to get
her when she returns. No, that would be illegal. Again, we have to recognize that
these people are making a huge sacrifice in
serving our country at a time when we’re
fighting two wars. So, you know, we… the law gives them
certain protections, but again, we want to emphasize,
it’s the right thing to do, aside from the fact that they
have a statutory entitlement. In addition to that, USERRA provides
the employee with an appeals mechanism or
what we call redress, and basically anybody
who feels that they have been, or I
shouldn’t say feels, anyone who perceives
that they… have their… either reemployment rights
have been violated, they can appeal to either the
Merit Systems Protection Board or to Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment &
Training Service, we call them DOL VETS. And I’ll say that in
the Policy Office, we have worked very closely
with DOL VETS over the years. They have great
people over there. They work USERRA
issues from… with respect to
the private sector and some internally with
federal employment. We have jurisdiction over, you
know, the federal employment, they have it over
the private sector, but as far as appeals rights, they look at a lot
of those things too and we’ve always had a
very good and collegial relationship with them. What we found out,
that in most cases, whereas an individual may think that there was
really a violation, it turns out that there
really was not a violation, and we’re able to resolve
it amicably and without, you know, the threat
of further lawsuits and any bad will or enmity that might otherwise result from an agency’s action with respect
to reemploying somebody. USERRA is a very broad statute and it pretty much
covers anybody who works for the
federal government. As you can see on the slide, it gives the definition of an
executive agency and all that, but the takeaway here
obviously for us is, it covers anybody who
is employed in OPM. For your benefit, it also includes people in
the legislative branch, as well as the judicial branch; again, a very, very
broad statute. It also covers individuals on permanent
appointments as well as nonpermanent appointments,
temps and terms. okay, So, you know,
even if we have a… you know, for the
sake of example, a student intern who is only
employed during the summer, if that person is in the
Reservist and gets called up, they have USERRA rights,
the same as a career employee who has been around
for 25 years. It also covers Schedules
Cs, political appointees. It applies to appointments here in the
States as well as overseas. Again, it’s a very,
very broad statute. So who are these
people who have these USERRA rights and protections? Basically it covers anyone who left their job for
uniformed service, and we’ll talk in a moment about what we mean by
uniformed service. They’re supposed to give us
prior notice of their service. In other words, they’re supposed to give
us copies of their orders, letting us know where they’re
going and when they’re going. But I want to caveat
that by saying, you know, the nature
of active duty is such that sometimes that’s
not always expedient or realistic for an
individual to do that, so we have to let them go. I mean, they need to
make a good faith effort to give us, as executives, managers,
and supervisors, you know, prior notice,
but we have to recognize that there might be
circumstances in which that can’t be done. We still have to let
them go just the same. We have something
called a five year rule. What is that? Basically, USERRA covers
anyone who has served for up to five
years of cumulative uniformed service with
the federal government. Now, we all know our country
has been at war since 2001, so you may say,
well, five years, it doesn’t sound
like a long time. There are exceptions to
that five year requirement. Those exceptions being, for example, if the
initial tour of duty exceeds five years, or if it’s extended
by the President. Again, we don’t just
cut people off and say, sorry, you have no
reemployment rights because you’ve been gone for, you know, five years
and two months. If anybody has any
questions or doubts, if they find themselves
in a situation with respect to one
of their employees, as to whether they’ve
exhausted that, come talk to me, come talk
to Mark Reinhold’s folks, together we’ll
work you through it and get an answer for you. They have to have… basically been separated
on anything other than a dishonorable discharge. The military has different types
of discharge; there’s Honorable, there’s Under
Honorable conditions, there’s Uncharacterized,
and so forth, but again USERRA,
being very board, it pretty much… anyone who is not… does not separate it,
released or discharged with a dishonorable discharge would be entitled
to their rights, assuming they’re
otherwise covered. Again, if anybody
has any questions, if they are confronted
with a character of service that they don’t
know what it means, they don’t know how to
make heads or tails of it, come talk to me
personally or my office, Come talk to Mark Reinhold
and his folks, again, we’re here to help you, we’ll walk you through it and
get you the appropriate answer. Again, if there is
one takeaway from today, it’s, you know, if you ever
feel that you’re in the dark, come see us, because again, these are very important issues
and I can’t emphasis enough, as the model agency,
and because Director Berry, his first initiative is
the employment of veterans. It’s imperative that we as
OPMers do everything we can to make sure that the
reemployment of our colleagues is not just done according
to the provisions, but done in a way that is
really seamless and smooth for these individuals. So if anybody on any of
these issues finds themselves with a situation that
they’re not sure about, come talk to us. Lastly, the veterans or the folks that
perform uniformed service, they have to report
back in a timely manner, and I’ll talk a little bit about
what those time frames are. The time frames vary
depending on how long they’ve been called up
and how long they’ve served. As I’ve mentioned,
the statute is very broad, it pretty much covers, you know, what you would commonly
think of any military services; Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as National Guard duty,
as well as Reserve duty. We call it uniformed service, because it’s even boarder
than just military service. It also includes service
in the Commission Corps, the public health service, and any other
category of individuals that the President
might deem or designate during a time of war
and national emergency. Now, I will say this,
since 9/11, since September 11, 2001, for anyone who’s forgotten
that date, we’re not aware that the President has
made any such designation. Right now USERRA
pretty much covers, you know, the folks, you
know, on active military duty, but should he decide
to designate any other groups, they would also have
reemployment rights entitlement. And again,
it’s voluntary service as well as involuntary service. We mentioned it covers, you know,
the Army, National Guard, as well as the Air
National Guard, and so forth, a very broad statute. If somebody is performing
military duty or training, rest assured,
they’re covered by USERRA. It also covers situations
where an individual might need to report to determine
their fitness for service. They would also have
reemployment rights for that, and as you can see on the slide, for any individual that is
performing funeral honors duty as part of their service. Again, it prohibits any of us,
anyone in HR, or anyone who is in a
position to hire anyone, or recommend the
hiring of anyone, or supervise anyone, from discriminating
against an individual or taking any reprisals, because of, as you can
see on the screen, their application,
their membership, or their service. Again, just to give
you some examples, we can’t discriminate
against job applicants because we think, well, they
might be taking a lot of leave, because they’re in
the Reserves. We can’t… as I had mentioned
at the top, we can’t say, well, you know, I assigned Joe, you know, this project,
I really need this report, he goes, you know, on
training or he gets called up and I need my report
and I’m getting slammed because it’s not done, boy, I’m going to get him,
I’ll teach him in the… in his final performance
review for the year. No, that would be illegal. Again, we can’t take any reprisals against
these individuals. We have to honor their service. Discrimination, as I said,
it applies to initial hiring, it applies to promotions. And what do I mean by
promotions, anyone who, for example, is in
a career ladder situation. Say for the sake of example
we hire someone as a GS-5, with a ladder to the 9,
they’re gone the first year. We have to promote him, you
know, after that first year, we have to treat him, the rule of thumb is that we
treat him as if they were… they never left. So anything that otherwise, you know, if they were
on course would flow to them, we have to accord them that,
and we promote them accordingly. We also have a
responsibility for folks who are not in
career ladder positions, let’s say, for example, as a manager,
if I’m filling a job and I, you know,
let all of my employees know that I have a vacancy
say at the GS-14 level and one of my employees is
in Iraq, who is a GS-13, and we’re announcing the job under internal
promotion procedures, it’s incumbent upon
me as a manager to let that individual
know of that opportunity. Again, we can’t discriminate
against that person, we can’t say, well,
they’re not here, out of sight, out of mind,
oh well, too bad, so sad. No, that again would be illegal. We have to make sure that
they have every bit as much opportunity
as everybody else. So how might we do that? One thing we could do is,
before they leave, perhaps we have an email that they’ll have while
they’re on active duty, we might have the email of a
commanding officer or somebody, a military liaison, that we may be can get
that job announcement to. Perhaps we can… we have a home email address, a spouse,
or a significant other, or family members,
that we can send the email to, that the individual might
check in from time to time, depending on
their situation. The bottom line is, we have to
make every good faith effort to apprise these
individuals of opportunities that we’re making known
to everybody else. And again, as managers and
supervisors and executives, the pragmatic reason is,
we do it because it covers us, but the better reason is we do it because it’s
the right thing to do. Again, we have to treat these
folks as if they had never left and they might want avail
themselves of an opportunity to apply for that promotion. USERRA covers
retention in employment, they can’t be rift or separated
while they’re on active duty, talk a little bit
about that in a moment. And when they return,
it also covers any, what we call,
seniority related benefits. What are those things? Little things like, you know,
do they get the bigger cube if they’ve been around
longer than everybody else, the corner office, any decision which might
be based on seniority or the fact that, you know, Joe has been around longer
than everybody else, so, you know, any decisions
that we might make to all of our employees based
on that, it covers that as well. So when Joe returns,
if he had the corner office, he returns to
the corner officer, we don’t stick him in
the small cube and say, too bad, you’ve
been gone for two years. And of course their health
benefits can continue, they have the option
of continuing those, but we have to let them know that they have the
option to continue those, if they want to continue to make
the deposit while they’re gone and, you know, things like thrift
savings benefits and federal employees
life insurance, those kinds of things, they have the option to
continue those as well. The question is, do they get
matching from the employer? They do. I don’t know exactly
what that is, and I think about
three or four years ago we extended that and also that the government
would match that so it extended. I think the eligibility
continues for about, I think, is it two years now? I think we extended an
additional year, so yes, we do. Again, some of the
basic protections, as employers we have
a responsibility to promptly reemploy
these people. What does that mean? It means that we have to
do it as soon as possible, but not longer than
30 days from the time they notify us that they’re
ready to come back to work. Now, when… you know, how much time
they have to notify us when they come back to work is a function of how
long they’ve been gone, and as you can see on the slide, if it’s for less
than 30 days, they report back beginning the next
regularly scheduled workday. If it’s for more than 30 days,
but less than six months, it’s within two weeks, and if it’s for longer
than six months, they have 90 days or three
months to notify us and say, okay, I’m ready to
return to my position, and again, once they notify us, we have to do it
as soon as possible, but within 30 days
of their doing so. But again,
I think being good OPMers, the responsibility
and the onus is on us, is to try to get
them back promptly and with as few
complications as possible. Again, we have
to be cognizant that these people put their
careers on hold to some extent, maybe to a large extent,
and are making, you know,
a very significant, if not ultimate,
sacrifice for our country, they’re putting
themselves in harm’s way, they may return disabled or
physically less than whole, we have to honor that. So the rule of thumb is, you know, as soon as
possible when they notify you. Sometimes people ask, well,
is there a form they fill out, do they go to HR,
how do they notify us? Typically, it’s done informally,
they contact the supervisor and let the supervisor know. It doesn’t require anything
more formal than that. Again, the burden is on us to
try to make that transition, that reemployment,
as seamless as possible. Carrying on with some of our
responsibilities as employers, as you can see from the list,
the first thing is, we have to let them know
what their rights are, and ideally we should let
them know when we hire them. We have to let them know what
their basic protections are, all of the things that
I’ve mentioned. We have to let them know the
time frames that they have for, you know, applying for
reemployment or notifying us. We can do that several
different ways. I think it’s a case of
talking to the employee. Early and often is always
a good idea, you know. We can do that when we
initially employ them. We can do that periodically
throughout the year. If you tend to give
performance appraisals more than two times a
year or three times year, that might be a
convenient time to mention or remind somebody of
their USERRA rights. If you have
an individual who is, you know, in the Reserves
or what have you. In addition to that, you can put
posters and informational stuff up around the office
so that everybody is… including the employee,
is aware of that. We have some of that
information in our center. If anybody needs some, we
can certainly get that from… the DOL VETS, puts out a lot
of that kind of information, we’d be happy to talk to them, they’d he happy to
supply it to us. So again, we need to let them
know what their rights are. Again, it’s always
a good thing to do it as frequently as possible. We have to let them notify us, but again, it’s not
critical if they don’t. If they’re going to be
away on military leave, perhaps most importantly,
we have to let them go. We can’t say, no,
you finish that report then you go on
your active duty, no. If somebody is reporting… who wants to report to
active duty or training, you know, Reservist training,
we have to let them go, we can’t stop them and
prevent them from doing so. And as I mentioned, or I maybe I didn’t
mention, we treat the… when they’re gone,
we put the individuals on leave without pay, unless they choose to take
leave and they can do that, but let’s say for
the sake of example, if somebody is being
activated and sent to Iraq, they would go on leave
without pay for the duration while they are away. And while they are away, or as
I mentioned, to take the leave, they can use any accrued
leave that they want, whether it be annual or
sick or even military leave, we can’t deny them that. It’s another entitlement
that they have. And as I mentioned,
we have a responsibility to properly reemploy them
when they notify us that they want to come back to work. And when they do so, we have to
place them in the position that they would have been
in had they not left. We call that concept,
the Escalator Principle. And what we mean by that is, you know, if they’ve been
gone for less than 91 days, we put them in the position
that they’re qualified for; they always have to be
qualified for what they do, but they would have attained had they not performed
to the uniformed service, and if they’re gone for
longer than 90 days, the same as what I just mentioned, but we have the option
of putting them in a position with like seniority
status and pay for which they are qualified, if we can’t put them
in for whatever reason, the one that they left. But the idea, again,
we mentioned that, you know, if we have
career ladder situations, you know, they left at a GS-5, they’ve been gone
for a year-and-half, we restore them to the GS-7, because we have to
operate under the assumption that they would have progressed
through that career ladder and, you know, a year-and-half later they’d be a GS-7
had they not left. So that’s the presumption that
we have to make with individuals who perform uniform service. Yes? [inaudible] Right, did everybody
understand the question Dan was asking, that we do that, you know,
as far as practical, that, you know, suppose
we have someone who, you know, maybe in
our world on paper might not qualify for the 7? Dan, I think the answer
to that question is, yeah, we still have
to promote him, and you mentioned performance
appraisal and rating, and that issue comes up too, is how do I give somebody a
rating if they’re not here? The rule of thumb is, we basically have to treat
the military service as an extension of the
civilian service. So even if they’re not around
for that performance appraisal, we have to… and there are different
ways to get at this, but we still have to find ways
that we can equate that service. Again, maybe we can contact
the commanding officer or the military unit or a
liaison and DOD to find out, you know, did they receive
any medals or anything that speaks to what
they’re doing over there, but, you know,
that’s a tricky one. Some times we get asked,
well, what happens if, you know, we hire
them on January 1, on January 2 they
are activated, and here it is December 31,
what I do with this person, they haven’t even been
around for a year, we can’t get
him an unsatisfactory rating? Now, the answer to that
question is a big depends, and it depends on the specifics of the disposition of
the person involved. Have they been working
for us for 20 years? Maybe we can look at
last year’s rating. Maybe we can average the last
three or five years of rating. Maybe we can look what
they’ve done at other agencies if they’re new to us. Again, maybe we can
simply substitute, you know, the service that
was performed in the military and anything that… any information we
might have about that, to factor that into the rating. Maybe at the very least
we have a default that says, they get a satisfactory, but, you know, it depends on the uniqueness of the
situation, you know. But we can work… if anybody has a
situation like that, again, come talk to me,
come talk to Mark Reinhold, together we’ll get you an
answer, we’ll work through it. As an agency, we’ve been through
these things in the past, over the years, and we’ll get you an
answer which is consistent and which serves the veteran
who has been called up. But Dan, I think more likely we get cases
where somebody says, what if I hire him as
a 5 and they have been gone for three or four years, you
mean, I just give him a GS-12? That might be a little trickier, and that’s when you say,
as far as practical, then we’d have to
really look into that, but I will caution and say, there has been a fair
amount of casework on this, both with the Board and even I think in some
Circuit Court decision, so we’d have to refer to those and those kinds of
extreme situations. But my advice would be for, you know, incremental, 5 to
7, 7 to 9 kind of situations, yeah, I think we have to
go ahead and promote them and we would substitute
that military service, unless we see anything
that is of an extraordinary… extraordinarily
negative, I should say, nature with that service, yeah, we have to promote him. Yes? From a performance
management standpoint, I just want to bring
up that we can’t… you can’t just design a rating without having performance
standards in place. So somehow we have
to figure around that, and there’s no such
thing as a default rating or an assumed rating or anything like that. So I know the question was about promotions, but I just
want to raise that issue and we’ll just have to
figure that one out. Yeah, thank you Karen, it’s
an important clarification. The answer presumed that
we have standards in place. I think… again, I think how
USERRA has been applied, whether it be in the Board
or the actual practices, that we simply substitute
some of the military as if it was the
work of the agency, but yes, we do have
performance standards in place and we merge… maybe I should quit, right? Excuse me, I have a question, and this is in reference
to your previous slide, and I’m over here, and that was about where
you have to let them go when they are going
on military leave. What about Reservist, who are able to get
nonessential training missions three or four times a year, do you have to let them go? Yes, the standard is
we can’t deny them their military leave, regardless the
nature of that leave. Okay, so is it permissible then, since you said it’s an extension
of the government agency, is it permissible to contact
their commanding officer to work out arrangements
if it’s to the point where it’s disruptive
to your operation? Yeah, you know, we say
that, I believe we say in the regulations that,
you know, the manager, the civilian manager, can, for lack of a better
phrase, try to negotiate that with the military commander, but ultimately,
the bottom line is, we have to let these folks go. Yeah, yeah, and I understand
that you have to let them go, but sometimes you’re up again
circumstances where, you know, especially with
some Reservists who, you know, just go, just
because they know they can go, I just think we should
be given the freedom to talk to their
commanding officers where, you know,
we can make out arrangements for another date for them to go. Well, to answer your question, yes, it’s permissible
to do that, but if the commander
comes back and says, absolutely not, I need this
person, blah, blah, blah, then we ultimately have
to differ it to them. No problem. And as we mentioned, we put them on leave
without pay, there we go. And they can take any
accrued leave, they get, I think, it’s 15,
what is it, 15 days on… I do know this, it’s 15
days per year of military leave and then again, the President
has given individuals 22 days of emergency
leave when the President, the Secretary of Defense, or a State Governor
had specifically called or activated
an individual. So again, getting to the
point of being away a lot, yeah, there is a potential that these folks may be
in fact away a lot, but again, that’s, you know, we just have
to treat it as though, you know, this is a greater
purpose they are serving, so, you know, we have to allow them
to take this leave. As we mentioned, benefits, you know, they continue, employees have the
right to suspend those while they’re gone and life insurance as
well while they’re gone. We can’t rift people
while they’re away and when they come back
they can’t be released, except for cause for one year,
as you can see on the slide, if they served for more than
six months or six months, if they are away for
more than 180 days. As far as some of their… the time limits for
restoration, again, this is what we have to let
our employees know upfront, and it’s always a good
idea to reinforce this throughout the year. If they serve for
less than 31 days, they have to report back
the next scheduled day, we covered this briefly
a little earlier. But you can see on the slide, if it’s for more than a month
but less than six months, they have 14 days. More than six months, they
have three months to report. And again, once they notify us
that they’re ready to come back, we have to make
every effort to try to bring them back
into our workforce and back into the job they left
or would have held right away, but no more than 30 days
from the time they let us know. And if they choose
not to return at all, then we deal with them
the same as any other, you know, employee who
doesn’t report back to work. At that point we look into
our disciplinary actions, but usually these
people want to come back and they want to continue
serving their government, they just have… you know, we think of it
as they’ve temporarily… you know, they’re still
serving the government, they’re doing it in
the military capacity and now they’re just
transitioning back into the civilian capacity. We covered the
first bullet there. The second bullet, I just want
to mention, we’ve said upfront that USERRA covers pretty
much all OPM employees, and that means time
limited employees. How we handle that is, if we hire say a term employee, that means they
can be an employee for no more than four years, when they return they finish any unexpired portion
of their appointment. In other words,
if we hired them for four years and they’re gone for two,
they come back, they finish,
they have two years left. If we hire them for four years and they’re gone for
four years and two months, they’re done, they have no
entitlement to be reemployed. So it’s they finish
any unexpired portion and the same is true
with temporary employees. With respect to employees with
service connected disabilities, if they’re not
qualified to be placed, and Dan this might get at
your question a little bit, if they’re not qualified to be
placed into their original job, or one that closely approximates it, you know, we have to
find a way that puts them in something very similar
to what they’ve been doing. I don’t know that for our agency we would encounter that
all that much much, because, you know,
most of our jobs are, for lack of a better phase,
desk kind of jobs. I think that might
be more relevant for maybe wage grade
employees or people who, you know, operate
machinery in agencies that may be employ those
types of individuals and they can no longer do that. I think for us, probably we’re not
going to notice or have to invoke that
condition too much. And I will say this, you know, I’ve been
here a long time and, you know,
OPM has always had a very, very good
record of reemploying our, you know, individuals
who have served. I hope there is nobody
out there in the audience who feels differently and says, oh yeah, come talk to
me about it, but no, we haven’t had
that many instances, and the instances we have
had have been handled very… to the best of my
knowledge and involvement, have always been
handled very smoothly and very well from
Mark Reinhold and his folks in HR, to the actual manger
in the organization. So we have a good track record,
and part of our aim here today is make sure that we
continue that track record. Again, the rule of thumb is, we treat these folks on military
leave as if they never left. So again, that means, you know,
that while they’re gone, that uniformed service
or military service counts for, you know,
anything that has a time or a clock associated with it, you know,
within grade increases, completion of
probationary periods, completion of career tenure
or timing grade requirements, all of that, again, we have
to act as if they were here and they successfully
completed that. And everything accrues for
purposes of thrift savings, leave, service credit,
all of those things, the clock doesn’t stop, because they’re called up or they choose to
serve on training. And as we mentioned
at the start, they… you know, they have… individuals have appeal rights,
and those appeal rights are with the Merit Systems Protection
Board or with DOL VETS. And again, I want to emphasize, we have an excellent
working relationship with DOL VETS on these issues. They consult with us a lot. We haven’t had to consult with
them for our employees too much. But I do know, anecdotally, from dealing with DOL VETS
that most of the cases that they hear from
other agencies really are not
USERRA violations, which is good news, it’s… maybe the employee thought they
were entitled to a little bit more than they were or, you know, maybe they
were minor things that the agency didn’t realize, they needed to give
Joe the corner office, but once that was brought
to their attention, oh, well sure, you know, we’ll
put Joe in the corner office. I think the reputation for
the government’s application of USERRA has been very good. You know, we haven’t seen any widespread or systemic
abuses with respect to it. That doesn’t mean we don’t
need to stay vigilant and continue the good work, but it’s relatively
a good news story. Just some resources, some takeaways for you all,
again, contact… so much for that, right? Contact Mark Reinhold’s folks
in the Human Resources office, contact our colleagues in our Agency and Veterans’
Service office, Joe Kennedy, Hakeem
Basheerud-Deen, Anita Hanson, those folks. Contact me, again, for
anybody who doesn’t know me, I’m Mike Mahoney, me and my staff will help you between the three
of our offices, we’re here for you,
we’re here for your employees, and we’ll get it right. I see some of our
colleagues in OGC and we have to
bring them into it, we’ll consult with them, because again, it isn’t just… we’re not just here to
satisfy a statutory requirement, we’re here to do the right
thing, to service… to serve these people. So if anybody has any
doubts or issues or, geez, I don’t know about this
or I’m not sure if we, you know, exceeded the
time frame or I didn’t, you know, get the offer… you know, I didn’t get
the documentation, come talk to us, don’t make any
rash or instant decisions. That is it, unless we
have any questions. And if we don’t have any
question at the moment and you have some,
come see us afterwards. We have one in the back. Yeah, I actually have a couple. I wanted to let you get
through your presentation. One, I think this is Slide 26, as I’m looking at the very
fine print at the bottom, but the slide regarding
employee obligations, employer obligations. You talked about,
let them notify you. And I think when
you indicated… when you spoke on that bullet, I think you said,
they don’t have to, so I just want to
make sure I understood. It looks as though the theme
of that particular slide is allowing them
to know their rights, letting them go on
whatever the mission it is, whether it’s training
or active service. But when you talked
about let them notify you, are you saying that it’s their
responsibility to let us know that
they’re going on training or they might be called
up for active duty, or just kind of
give them the space to tell us what’s going on? Well, it’s a little of both, but
with respect to the first point, you know, again, we recognize
that there are situations in which it might
not be practical. Somebody… it is feasible, and
we’ve heard from agencies where somebody gets their
orders say at Friday morning and the supervisor
is out that day or they can’t contact
them and they’re gone, and the supervisor comes
in Monday, and you know, where is Bill? Well, he’s gone,
he’s on military duty. Well, how come I wasn’t
notified, get him back here, I’m going to, you know,
throw the book at him. No, we can’t do that. So it’s really a
question of intent and in some instances
maybe these individuals can get their orders or copies of
their orders to us as employers after they’ve already
been activated, but we still have
to let them go. But I think, you know, they need
to make a good faith effort, but again, I think and
I believe there is a MSPB case on this at some point, where even in instances
where they don’t, and they need to make
a good faith attempt, but even in instances
where they don’t, we still have to let them go and we can’t bring
reprisals against them. Now, you know, if we
run into a situation where, gee, you know,
I know Bill is in the Reserves, but he hasn’t shown up
at work for a few weeks and I have no idea where he is, we need to look into
that and handle that a little bit differently. But it may be an
email or they may, you know, tell
someone who is acting or it may be a phone
message, that, yeah, I’m on active duty
or I’ve been called up, even though we don’t actually
have a copy of the orders, we still have to let them go and then do what we can, you know, administratively,
you know, in record keeping, to try to get those
things when it’s expedient. But there may be
some circumstances and when they simply
can’t furnish those orders. So it’s more a case
of intent, where, you know, they need
to try to do that, and again, I think
we have a responsibility to tell our employees that
it’s incumbent upon them, but ultimately, we’re not going to deny
them their military leave, nor are we going to dock
them for it in some way, performance wise or otherwise,
if they don’t do that. Okay. As well, you talked about the basic protections
and the other benefits. You referenced TSP and
the matching of the agency. Are they considered civilians
or are they considered military when they’re on military leave,
when it comes to TSP, or do you know? Technically, I don’t know,
and OPM doesn’t administer TSP. If you’d like, I can try
to get an answer for you after the session. I’m thinking about it more
so from, if we’re advised… if it’s our responsibility as their employer to advise
our military civilian employees of what those rights are, it would be important
in understanding if they were
to approach us about, so hey, I’ve got TSP and what
does that mean for me, do we just send
them to HR for that, or is that information
that we would have available when it comes to advising
them if they were… Well, that’s
a good question. I think at
the very least we can, you know, have a conservation
with HR about that, but, you know, we can… I’ll look into providing, you know, you some additional
information on that. The bottom line is that all of
those things, if they… you know, to the extent
that the rules of TSP, and I don’t know what they are, allow them to continue to make contributions
and all of those things, I mean, it isn’t frozen,
it isn’t severed, and when they come
back, it continues, I think for our purposes that’s
what we need to let them know, and then if we can find any additional
technical information, put them in touch
with the right people, because after all,
we’re not TSP experts here, at least certainly I’m not, and I don’t imagine any
of you folks are either. But again, it’s more just a
good faith thing of letting them know, you know, what continues
and what covers, and then if we’re not
sure exactly or technically how the mechanics of that work, putting them in touch
with the folks who do, and we can certainly
get some contacts to help all of you for that. And one last question, you talked about time
limits for restoration and treating the military
service and their participation in that as if they never left,
and you talked about that in relation
to term employees. So it sounded as though,
in some of the areas that I think Dan talked about, and some of the other
areas you talked, you referenced
treating the service from performance perspective
as if they never left, but for term employees, it sounds as though we’re
not treating the service as if they ever left, we’re actually allowing
them to come back, actually acknowledging
that military service as an absence and allowing
them to come to back to federal employment to
complete their term. Did I misunderstand that? I think you said,
if they had four years, but they had done two and then
went to do two for military, we let them come back. Thank you. Yeah, good question. Let me clarify that
just so that everybody… we’re all on the same page. What we said with respect to
any time limited employee, whether they’re
a temp or a term, is they come back
and they finish up any unexpired portion
of that appointment. However, if there is one month,
if there is one week left, if the appointment
expires and they’re gone, there’s no job for
them to come back to. We don’t extend it by the time. You know, if they
were gone for two years or if they were gone
for say four-and-a-half years, but they’re on a
four year appointment, we don’t add four more
years on the back of it. That’s not how it works. Whatever is leftover, they
finish out, then they’re gone. And the same… it’s similarly true
for political appointees, who, you know, by definition,
serve at the will of, you know, the director or
other political appointees and, you know, if that employee
or employer relationship is severed, there is no job
for them to return to either. So we’re not saying that we
don’t credit the service of term employees the same,
differently, we do. We would do the same thing
for them when they return, the distinction was,
if the appointment expires, then it doesn’t matter, because there is no job
for them to return to. Does that make sense? Okay. Anyone else? Well, again, thanks
for showing up, and if anybody has any
further questions… don’t all run to the door, you don’t want to get
trampled on your way out, but if anybody has
any further questions for me or about today’s session, by all means come talk to us, we’re here to help you all. Thank you.

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