For those returning from service, finding employment can be a burdensome and discouraging task.
Our world is changing, and many veterans may need to learn new skills to thrive. Unemployment rates for both male and female veterans increased in 2020, reflecting the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate for male veterans was 6.5%, while the rate for female veterans was 6.7%.
It’s up to the Department of Labor to reach out to employers interested in hiring veterans and help them connect to the veteran community. This means retaining close relationships with prospective employers, keeping track of separating service members and matching them with employment relevant to their skills, and providing separating service members with resources and information about employers who are hiring.
Those who have sacrificed so much in service to their country shouldn’t have to worry about getting their jobs back when they return. This was echoed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he praised he Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, that returning service men should have maximum protection so that they would be able to “step back into their jobs with a minimum of loss.” At the same time he spoke of the fact that “seniority privileges have become an institution in American industry” and seemed thereby to imply that reemployment of veterans should be accomplished within the framework of the seniority system. And he urged that employers “give the same assurance [of job reinstatement] to their employees who leave for war work as they are giving to employees who are leaving to join the armed forces.”
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires an employer to promptly reemploy veterans or active duty military service members when they return from military service. The employer must put them back into the same position, and they may also be entitled to advancement to a higher position that would have obtained had they never left.
These laws have helped many veterans find well-paying jobs, but they do not cover every scenario our present and former service members face. It would be great if every military veteran had a job waiting for him the moment they stepped off duty, and there are myriad employers within the American labor sector that are prepared to hire veterans — but many of these employers don’t have the capabilities to connect themselves with the veteran community.
Help us demand more from the Department of Labor in the form of better programs and initiatives to connect separating service members to employment opportunities.
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