ESGR tips for Arizona Air National Guard members
By the Arizona Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, ESGR
/ Published October 02, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is part of a Department of Defense agency that recognizes outstanding employer support for Guard and Reserve employees, increases awareness of employment laws and resolves conflict through mediation.
Most employment conflicts can be avoided by being candid with your employer about your obligations as a member of the Arizona Air National Guard.
Don't take your employer's support for granted. Keep your boss informed about what you do in the military and when you do it. Let your boss know the vital mission that is supported by your participation in the National Guard. Let your boss know how your military experience and training will make you a more capable civilian employee.
Take time to recognize the sacrifice your boss and co-workers make when they support you. Here's a summary of advice from ESGR on how to keep the boss on your side:
Talk to your boss.
No matter what your military assignment or specialty, tell your employer about it.
Many people hold down military jobs that relate directly to their civilian careers. If yours is one of them, your boss would be pleased to know that you are learning and practicing military skills that can pay off on the job.
Even if what you do in the military is different from your civilian job, sharing the details can impress your boss. You are using your spare time to participate in a second career that is of great importance to your community and the nation.
Experience has shown that members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as their employers, do not always have a clear understanding about employment and reemployment rights for Reserve component members.
Federal law guarantees the right to take time off from work to attend to your military responsibilities. The more that you, your boss, and your personnel office know about the federal laws and legal precedents that spell out Reserve reemployment rights, rules and obligations protected by the laws, the less chance there is for misunderstanding. Basically, USERRA provides that an employer must give you time off to perform military service and reemploy you following the service with status, seniority and rate of pay as though you never left.
Don't make your boss guess about your Guard duties. The more you share with the boss - and the earlier you share it the better - about drill schedules, annual training plans, reemployment rights and rules, and any extra time-off requirements, the easier things will go. Remember, you must give your employer advance notice of any military service, including drills.
Reward the boss for supporting your service.
The Department of Defense will send your boss a personally prepared certificate of appreciation if you just apply for it. The certificate comes mounted in a handsome folder, bearing the DoD seal embossed in gold. Take time to do your best to "brag" about your boss. The stronger your boss's support, the greater the likelihood that he or she will also receive a higher award. The Arizona ESGR Committee presents plaques to the most supportive employers each year.
The ESGR National Headquarters sponsors the prestigious PRO PATRIA award, presented each year by each ESGR Committee to their single most supportive employer.
The Secretary of Defense presents the highest awards, the Employer Support Freedom Award, to the most outstanding employers for the year-one national winner and four regional semifinalists. Applications can be obtained from the 162nd Fighter Wing public affairs office, any member of your ESGR Committee, our Web site, www.esgr.org or by calling ESGR directly, 1-800-336-4590.