Returning Veterans often resume the job they had before they left home. Other Veterans may start a new job after discharge. Veterans make very good workers because of their military training. They learn skills in leadership, teamwork, and performance under pressure. Military experience fosters respect for procedures. Veterans are not afraid to tackle tough problems.
However, Veterans all go through some readjustment after they get back from a war zone. Employers can benefit from understanding their employees' needs and rights. Informed employers can help make the process smoother for both the returnee and the workplace.
About half of those returning from deployment in the current conflicts are U.S. National Guard and Reserves. We are counting on these service members more than ever before. Employers must realize, though, the challenges they face.
When they are deployed, the normal "civilian" lives of Reserve Component members are highly disrupted. The lives of their families are also disrupted. Spouses must suddenly make decisions without a partner. Families go through financial changes and emotional upset. At the same time these families often lack the close ties and support that full-time military families share with each other. The change from active duty back to everyday life is not always smooth for Veterans. It can be even harder for Guard and Reserve. They no longer have others around them who have shared the same war experiences.
Employers also need to be aware of the rights of their Veteran employees. The law applies to all public and private employers in the United States. For service members meeting criteria, employers must provide:
Managers and supervisors can help by learning how Veterans may react after being in a war zone. Employers should know the common reactions to trauma. Be aware that most service members will return to normal, given time. Our website www.ptsd.va.gov contains much information that applies to returning Veterans and their families.
Of special note for employers: