Reinstatement Of Pension Benefits

USERRA provides that upon reemployment, employees must be treated as not having had a break in service for pension plan purposes to include vesting and accrual of benefits for the period of absence. Employers are not required to make contributions until the employee is reemployed, but then must contribute no later than 90 days after the date of reemployment, or when plan contributions are normally do for the year in which the service was performed, whichever is later. Employees are allowed to make up missed contributions or elective deferrals for up to three times the length of the absence, up to a maximum of five years. Employer contributions that are attributable to the employee’s makeup contribution must be made according to the plan’s requirements for employer matching contributions. As with health care benefits, many employers will need to consult with benefits counsel before amending pension plans to comply with the new regulations.