If you’re thinking about joining the National Guard, you probably know about the military benefits of joining the National Guard. However, chances are good that you haven’t thought about just how your military service can also benefit your civilian career. Before you decide to join, consider these civilian benefits of joining the National Guard.
Benefits Of Joining The National Guard: Respect From Civilian Employers
It’s true — National Guard soldiers receive a great deal of respect from their civilian employers. Typically when an employer sees National Guard experience on a resume, he or she instantly understands that the applicant is a professional who values service above self. Whether you joined the National Guard for education benefits, to serve your country or to see far off areas of the world, your employer just sees your service.
Many businesses have a department in Human Resources to help supervisors and employees navigate through just what it means to be a National Guardsman and a civilian employee. These offices do a lot of good in fostering a good relationship between soldier and employer.
Benefits Of Joining The National Guard: Job Protection
Some potential National Guardsmen are hesitant to join the National Guard because of fear of losing their job. However, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (also called USERRA) will help protect a soldier’s job if he or she has been called to active duty, whether for a real life mission or training. USERRA states that:
- Employees cannot be required to use vacation time during military service.
- Employees cannot be expected to perform work duties while on military service.
- Employees need to be provided a job with similar pay and responsibilities upon return. The position does not have to be the exact one if the service period was longer than 91 days.
- If the employee is no longer qualified for the position, the employer must make reasonable efforts to provide retraining.
- Employers need to continue to offer health insurance. The employee can be required to pay 102% of the premium for service periods longer than 30 days. Waiving health insurance (to take advantage of Tricare coverage, for instance) does not waive other rights.
Benefits Of Joining The National Guard: Supplemental National Guard Pay
Another of the benefits of joining the National Guard is National Guard pay. National Guardsmen are paid for each drill weekend and the rate of pay depends on his or her rank and time in service. National Guardsmen also receive a small cost-of-living adjustment each January.
Additionally, Guardsmen are paid for their two week drills each year. Some civilian employers understand that there’s a difference between a Guardsman’s military and civilian pay and will even make up the difference once the Guardsman receives their Leave and Earnings Statement (commonly called an LES). If you’re considering joining the National Guard, ask your HR department if your company participates in this program.
These are just a few of the civilian benefits of joining the National Guard. Before you decide to enlist, consider asking your company’s Human Resources department just how they handle soldiers with National Guard careers. The response you receive might just surprise you.