South Carolina Military Service (USERRA) laws & HR compliance analysis

South Carolina Military Service (USERRA): What you need to know

Much like the federal government, which has enacted the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), many states have enacted laws to protect the employment status of the men and women who serve in the armed forces (38 USC 4301et seq.).
South Carolina has enacted such a law.
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Remember that USERRA, a federal law, preempts any state law that is less protective of the employment and reemployment rights of uniformed service people. That is, if South Carolina law is less protective than USERRA, then the rights given by USERRA will apply and not the less protective South Carolina law. Additionally, if South Carolina law is more protective than USERRA, then the South Carolina law will apply.
An employee who leaves work to serve in the South Carolina State or National Guard must be reinstated to his or her previous position or to a position of like seniority, status, and salary, provided the employee:
• Receives an honorable discharge
• Applies in writing to the employer within 5 days of discharge from duty or from hospitalization continued after release from active duty
• Is still qualified for his or her previous position
If the employee is no longer qualified for the previous position, the employer must offer an alternative position for which the employee is qualified and will give the employee appropriate seniority, status, and salary (SC Code Sec. 25-1-2310et seq.).
Exception. An employer is not required to reinstate an employee if, under the circumstances, it would be unreasonable to do so.
Unpaid leave. Public employees who serve in the U.S. armed forces are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence for up to 5 years without loss of seniority, efficiency, or register ...

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