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(Washington, DC) Senator Richard Burr, the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, today called for employers to protect the civilian jobs of deployed troops and the families of military servicemembers who have been severely injured.
"More than one and a half million Americans have fought in the War on Terror. Many of these men and women left behind valued civilian careers that must be protected. Those who have fought for our nation deserve to return home and gain reinstatement to their jobs. We owe nothing less to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom," said Burr.
The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing today to the review two issues important to veterans, active duty personnel and their families, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve. During the hearing, the committee discussed results of a demonstration project regarding enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a law which provides broad employment and re-employment rights to members of the Armed Forces.
The committee also examined proposed expansions of employment protections for family members who are caring for servicemembers who are wounded or injured while in the service of their country.
The North Carolina Senator also called for employers to help family members caring for seriously wounded servicemembers. A commission led by retired U.S. Senator Bob Dole and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala recommended that family members be granted extended leave from their jobs in order to care for wounded troops. Congress is considering legislation that would provide for additional time off for the family members of returning wounded veterans through the Family Medical Leave Act.
"To those employers who have been working with their employees, I say thank you. As we consider changing the law, I hope employers across the nation will act now to protect the jobs of these family members. It's the right thing to do given the sacrifices made by our wounded servicemembers and their family members, who are a critical part of their recoveries," Burr said.