U.S. Department of Labor Signs '5-Star' Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve

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Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao is the first non-defense Cabinet Secretary to sign "5-Star" Statement of Support for the NationalGuard and Reserve.

Mr. Craig W. Duehring, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao signed a “5-Star” Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve at 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 20th at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW in Washington, D.C.

The “5-Star” Statement of Support confirms that the Department of Labor:

·    Signed a Statement of Support publicly demonstrating its support for its employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

·    As a federal employer, promises to safeguard job positions, support continuation of medical and dental benefits for family members, grant leaves of absence for military service without penalty of lost vacation time to those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve, to the extent allowed under applicable laws.

·    Ensures men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve will not be denied employment with the Department of Labor nor will there be limited or reduced job and career opportunities due to service in the Guard or Reserve.

·    Is an advocate for employee service in the National Guard and Reserve.

“Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s National Guard and Reserve units. I am asking all of America’s employers to review and amended their current human resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Law (USERRA),” said Duehring. “This is a significant event not only for the Department of Labor, but for all federal civil service employees. The federal government is one of the largest employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists in the country.”

Secretary Chao is the first non-defense Cabinet secretary to sign the Five-Star Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve, committing the department to support its citizen-soldiers and provide an example to other public and private employers.

Secretary Chao also announced that the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (Vets) and ESGR have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve their cooperative efforts to protect the jobs and benefits of National Guard and Reserve service members.

As part of the Labor Department’s efforts to support veterans’ employment, Secretary Chao unveiled a public service announcement, HireVetsFirst, featuring former Senator Bob Dole, which encourages employers to hire veterans. Senator Dole participated in the ceremony and joined Secretary Chao, and Craig Duehring in recognizing service members, employers and leaders of veterans service organizations.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation, and if necessary mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.

As the 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens, ESGR will continue to be the informational agency for the employers of America’s new Minutemen. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at http://www.esgr.mil, or by calling the National Committee Office at (800) 336-4590.

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