Earlier this year, Illinois governor Bruce Rauner signed the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) (Public Act 100-1101) into law. This law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, streamlines and expands the various job-related protections afforded to Illinois service members.
Most importantly, the ISERRA repeals the following statutes:
- Military Leave of Absence Act,
- Public Employee Armed Services Rights Act,
- Municipal Employees Military Active Duty Act, and
- Local Government Employees Benefits Continuation Act
And consolidates the protections afforded under these statutes into the new law. The only law not consolidated into the ISERRA, the Illinois Family Military Leave Act, which family members of a service member with protected leave under certain circumstances*, remains intact. Continue reading NEW LAW: Starting January 1st Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to Protect Illinois’ Military Service Members
On November 7, 2018, Massachusetts’ “BRAVE Act” (An Act Relative to Veterans Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement) goes into effect. This law changes an employer’s obligation to grant leave to veterans on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Under the old law, which went into effect in 2016, employers were required to grant veterans time off on Veterans Day and Memorial Day to participate in an exercise, parade, or service in their community. For employers with 50 or more employees, this time off was to be paid.
Under the new law, employers are required to provide Veterans with time off for Veterans Day and Memorial Day as follows: Continue reading NEW LAW: New Requirements For Leave For Veterans In Massachusetts
On August 7, 2017, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed New Jersey Senate Bill S726 into law. This new law, which went into effect on August 7, 2017, amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and expands its scope to prohibit all forms of discrimination against members of the Armed Forces and veterans.
It is recommended that all New Jersey employers review their practices towards military members and veterans and verify that those practices comply with the amended New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Earlier this year, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Jr. signed Senate Bill 280 into law. This new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2017 provides new protections to West Virginia employees who are active members of the state wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
This new law makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against or discharge from employment an employee who has been employed for a minimum of ninety days and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol because of membership in the Civil Air Patrol.
In addition, this new law requires employers to provide these employees with Civil Air Patrol Leave as follows:
- A maximum of ten days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee training for an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
- A maximum of thirty days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee responding to an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
To receive this leave, employees must provide the employer with advanced notice of their need for leave as follows:
- Training Leave – Employees must provide at least fourteen days’ notice of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete training.
- Emergency Mission Leave — Employees must provide as much notice as possible of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete an emergency mission.
When the employee returns to work, the employee must be reinstated to the position held when the leave began or to a position with equivalent seniority status, benefits, pay and conditions of employment.
On July 5, 2017, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act No. 17-127 into law. This act amends the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Act to add a person’s “status as a veteran” to the list of protected classes under this law.
As a reminder, the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Act applies to Connecticut employers with three or more employees and prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of his/her protected class.
In addition, the new law also adds “the National Guard of any other state” to the list of services that qualify for leave to perform military duty. Under the current law, any employee who, as a part of that employee’s service in the Connecticut National Guard or any reserve component of the armed forces of the United States, is ordered to perform military duty (including meetings or drills) during regular working hours must be provided a leave of absence to perform military duty. Under the new law, employers must extend these leave rights to employees who are members of the National Guard of any other state.
The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2017.
On July 14, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment” (“The HOME Act”). This law requires employers to provide paid leave to veterans participating in Veterans Day activities. It also prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their veteran status.
What is a veteran?
Under the new law, a veteran is
- Any person with an honorable discharge who served in any branch of the U.S. military,
- Any person who served full time in the National Guard under certain conditions,
- Any person who served in wartime and was awarded a service-connected disability or Purple Heart.
What are the Veterans Day Leave benefits?
Massachusetts law already required employers to grant a paid or unpaid leave of absence to qualifying veterans who wished to participate in a Veterans Day or Memorial Day exercise, parade, or service. Under the new law, Massachusetts employers with 50 or more employees are required to grant a veteran paid leave on Veterans Day provided that the employee provides reasonable notice of his/her intention to take leave for that purpose. The new law does not require employers to provide paid leave for Veterans on Memorial Day.
Veterans as a protected class
Under the new law, an employee’s “veteran status” is included as a protected class under the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act.