Almost half of our nation’s military strength resides in the National Guard and Reserve. These brave men and women perform critical roles such as homeland defense and continue to serve around the world to ensure our freedom. Members of the National Guard are also frequently called on by the Governor to provide disaster assistance in our communities. All of this would not be possible without the support from employers just like you.
This link between members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers led to the creation of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflicts through mediation.
Established in 1972, ESGR operates via a network of hundreds of volunteers within 56 Field Committees throughout the United States. West Virginia has 48 volunteers located throughout the state who work with employers and service members to educate them about their responsibilities and obligations. When necessary ESGR volunteers provide informal mediation of employment issues between employers and service members.
Through a national and local organizational structure, ESGR provides the following services to assist members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers:
RECOGNITION: We applaud employers who practice personnel policies that support employee participation in the National Guard and Reserve. Employers are nominated for the “My Boss is a Patriot” award by their service member employees. Employers who go “above and beyond” what the law requires to provide support may be nominated for the “Freedom Award” that is given by the Department of Defense annually to outstanding employers.
INFORMATION: ESGR informs and educates service members and their civilian employers regarding their rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). ESGR volunteers can provide HR staff with assistance in developing military leave policies that ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
MEDIATION: Our trained Ombudsmen provide information, consultation and mediation concerning USERRA compliance. Occasionally military service related issues arise in the work place that cannot be sorted out by the parties. ESGR volunteers who are trained as Ombudsmen can informally mediate those issues when called upon. Ombudsmen have a better than 80% success rate at resolving issues before they become formal complaints leading to investigation and enforcement by the U.S. Department of Labor.
ESGR volunteers, ranging from business executives, senior government representatives, educators and military personnel, enable ESGR to bring the message to all employers, large and small, in cities, towns and rural areas. With help and resources from the National ESGR Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the 56 ESGR Committees conduct employer support programs, including Bosslifts, Briefings with the Boss, mediation, and recognition of employers whose policies support or encourage participation in the National Guard and Reserve. By explaining the mission of the National Guard and Reserve and by increasing public awareness of the role of the employer, they develop a dialogue among employers, the ESGR Committees, and local National Guard and Reserve unit commanders and members.
ESGR is in your neighborhood! To contact an ESGR volunteer, call 1-800-336-4590 or visit the ESGR website at www.esgr.mil. Those employers who are willing to provide a public Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve can call the WV Field Committee at (304) 281-6186 or email the Chairman at firstname.lastname@example.org.