Protect job status, reservist pleads with N.L.

A reservist is calling for job protection for those who leave their jobs for military service in Afghanistan.

A reservist serving in Afghanistan says it's wrong that he's facing unemployment when he returns to his home in western Newfoundland in August.

Maj. Wallace Noseworthy says it is unfair that reservists must quit their jobs for military service. ((Courtesy of Wallace Noseworthy))

Maj. Wallace Noseworthy is asking the Newfoundland and Labrador government to protect the jobs of reservists when they leave work for military duty.

Noseworthy, now serving in Kabul, had no choice but to quit his job managing a car dealership in Stephenville after his employer did not give him a leave of absence.

"[In] this day and age, reservists have to actually quit their jobs to go serve their country," he said.

"I just think it's bordering on criminal, as far as I'm concerned."

Noseworthy, who began his tour of duty in February, has no regrets about his decision.

Labour Minister Shawn Skinner says protecting reservists' jobs seems like 'a reasonable accommodation to ask an employer to make.' ((CBC))

"We are playing a huge role over here, and we are making a big difference, bettering this country and helping… a fledgling democracy stand on its feet," he told CBC News.

Noseworthy has been lobbying from overseas for greater job protection for reservists. There is no federal law protecting reservists' jobs, and laws vary from province to province.

Employers in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan are bound to hold jobs for reservists.

Shawn Skinner, Newfoundland and Labrador's labour minister, said he is inclined to follow suit.

"I think it's a reasonable accommodation to ask an employer to make," Skinner said.

"I'm an employer myself, and I think it would be reasonable to expect me to make that accommodation."

Skinner said officials in his department are reviewing policies in other jurisdictions. Changes to labour law, he said, could be made as early as the fall.

Noseworthy said such a move will come too late for him, although he hopes it will help others.