TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would provide additional employment protections for reserve soldiers on military leave in time of war or emergency was approved by the Senate Labor Committee today by a vote of 4-0.
“During times of national crisis, many of our brave reserve soldiers put their lives on hold to defend the country from threats at home and abroad,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Currently, we recognize that sacrifice by guaranteeing that these soldiers can return to their day jobs once their tour of duty ends. This bill extends that guarantee so that, if the company eliminates the person’s post while they are on military leave, for whatever reason, the person would be guaranteed a similar job of comparative pay, seniority and status within the company.”
The bill, S-2304, would require a public or private employer to rehire an individual who left on military leave during a time of war or emergency, if the individual’s job was eliminated due to economic or efficiency demands. The bill stipulates that the employee would be rehired to a job of equal pay, status and seniority, and if a position such as that does not exist, the employee could request any available position for which he or she might be qualified.
“In addition to the current protections provided under state law for soldiers on military leave, we should not allow our brave men and women on the front lines to be laid off, or become the victim of down-sizing while they are defending our country,” said Senator Vitale. “Sometimes, employers need to make decisions about the structure of their offices, but there should be a measure of fairness for those who take time off to protect America in its time of need. The bill would establish that fairness, and ensure that our fighting men and women have a job to come back to after their tour of duty is up.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.