Hon. Charles S. Ciccolella
Madam Chairwoman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee.
On behalf of the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) I am pleased to provide you our views on H.R. 1632, the "Improving Veterans' Reemployment Act of 2007." The bill expands and enhances the annual report produced by VETS regarding complaints made under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
We support the provisions of the bill that provide an opportunity to collaborate with other Departments and agencies. H.R. 1632 would, among other things, require VETS to report, "The number of cases reviewed by the Secretary of Defense under the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve of the Department of Defense during the fiscal year for which the report is made." These data are to be collected by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for the Department of Defense (DoD).
We also agree with the concept of uniform categories for reporting. VETS and the ESGR already have a very positive working relationship. Should H.R. 1632 become law, VETS will work with ESGR to establish procedures as well as to develop a common understanding of the term "cases" so that ESGR will be able to provide VETS with the required data in the appropriate format for inclusion in our annual USERRA report to Congress. VETS will include any formatted data that ESGR provides in a timely manner to our future annual reports.
Another provision of H.R. 1632 would require VETS and ESGR to identify and report "which of the cases reported on pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) are disability-related." VETS currently tracks and reports complaints involving "disabilities" if the USERRA complaint is based on a reasonable accommodation issue. We plan to meet with ESGR, and look forward to working with the committee, to identify the data requirements needed to address your concerns.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide our comments on this legislation.