Military Leave

The following are commonly asked questions regarding Military Leave. Please click on the question to be directed to the relevant policy section.

  1. What is the university’s Military Leave Policy?
  2. Who is eligible for Military Leave?
  3. How soon should a staff member notify the university of his or her need to take Military Leave?
  4. What information is required to apply for Military Leave?
  5. Is a staff member paid for military reserve training?
  6. Is a staff member paid for active duty?
  7. What happens when a staff member returns to work from Military Leave?
  8. What happens if a staff member does not return to work from Military Leave on time?
  9. Is there a limit on the length of Military Leave?
  10. Are benefits continued during Military Leave?
  11. When can the university terminate a staff member’s employment while he or she is on Military Leave?
  12. What happens if a staff member becomes disabled during service in the uniformed services?
  13. What is Military Family Leave?
  14. How soon should a staff member notify the university of his or her need to take Military Family Leave?
  15. What are the uniformed services?

I.      Policy

The University of Puget Sound (the “university”) recognizes the right of a staff member to perform services in the uniformed services and provides Military Leave for a staff member to perform his or her military duties.

Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the university provides unpaid Military Leave for a staff member who requests such leave in order to perform service in the uniformed services. It is the policy of the university to comply with USERRA and all federal, state, and local laws related to Military Leave.

II.    Eligibility and Scope

A staff member is eligible for Military Leave if he or she is in a regular, seasonal or temporary university position and actively at work on the first day of employment. There is no requirement that a staff member has been employed by the university for any minimum period (e.g. the initial evaluation period) before the absence for service in the uniformed services. The effective date of a staff member’s Military Leave is based on his or her military orders.

A staff member who leaves employment at the university for service in the uniformed services will be entitled to reemployment, provided:

  1. A staff member (or an appropriate officer of the uniformed service) must have given the university prior oral or written notice of the impending service
  2. A staff member’s cumulative period or periods of service in the uniformed services, relating to the university, will not have exceeded five years
  3. A staff member must have completed the period of service in the uniformed services without having received a punitive (by court marshal) or other than honorable discharge or having been dismissed or dropped from the rolls of the uniformed service
  4. A staff member must have made a timely application for reemployment or have been timely in reporting back to work.

 III.   Notice of Military Leave

The university would prefer that the notice requesting Military Leave be in writing, but oral notice is sufficient. A staff member should give as much advance notice as possible, but the university realizes that circumstances arise where a staff member does not receive notice from the uniformed service until the last minute. Although no specific amount of advance notice is required, notice must be given before leaving the university position.

Notice requesting Military Leave should be provided to Human Resources and should convey the information that a staff member is leaving his or her position for the purpose of military service, the effective date of Military Leave as stated in a staff member’s military orders, and the amount of military pay in the case of Military Reserve Training.

IV.  Military Reserve Training

Military Leave is provided for Military Reserve Training as part of a staff member’s service in the U.S. Military Reserves, the National Guard, Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve or Coast Guard Reserve. 

A staff member on Military Reserve Training will be paid the greater of his or her:

  • regular salary or wage excluding shift differential and overtime, or
  • the amount payable for military duty.

Hours recorded as military leave will not be included in the calculation of overtime.

A staff member in an exempt position must report military leave in full day increments. If the staff member works any part of the day, no leave should be reported.

The maximum time allotment for paid Military Reserve Training is ten working days per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). A staff member should submit to Human Resources a written statement from his or her commanding officer of the unit and a copy of his or her military pay documents for payroll reconciliation. If a staff member’s Military Reserve Training continues beyond ten working days per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), the Military Leave will be unpaid, and a staff member may elect to use available sick leave, vacation leave, and floating holiday to supplement his or her military pay.

The university recognizes that a staff member participating in Military Reserve Training may need time off from work sufficient to enable him or her to travel to the place of training and have a night of rest, before starting the training, so that he or she can perform the training in a safe and effective manner. The university may approve requests to be away from work as the situation warrants on Friday, and particularly Friday evening, prior to inactive duty training on Saturday.

V.    Active Duty

A staff member who leaves his or her university position for voluntary or involuntary service in the uniformed services will, upon giving the university notice, be granted unpaid Military Leave.

A staff member may request payment of all available vacation leave and floating holiday leave. If a staff member does not request payment of his or her available vacation leave and floating holiday, the available vacation leave and floating holiday leave will be held for a staff member to use upon his or her return to work.  In all cases, available sick leave will be held for a staff member to use upon his or her return to work.

A staff member is entitled to return to the position he or she would have attained with reasonable certainly if not for the uniformed service absence after discharge or release from active duty military service as long as he or she meets the criteria outlined in this policy.

A.  Timely Application for Reemployment 

1.   Period of 1-30 Days of Service

After a period of less than 31 days of uniformed service, a staff member is required to report for work at the start of the first full regularly scheduled work period on the first day after the completion of the period of uniformed service, the time reasonably required for safe transportation from the place of uniformed service to a staff member’s residence, and a period of eight hours (for rest). A staff member will be considered back on the payroll as of the time he or she reports to work.

If reporting on the next day is impossible or unreasonable because of factors beyond a staff member’s control, a staff member is required to report for work as soon as reasonably possible.

2.   Period of 31 Days of Service or More

If the period of uniformed service is greater than 30 days but less than 181 days, a staff member is required to submit an application for reemployment within 14 days of the end of the period of service.

If the period of uniformed service is 181 days or more, a staff member must submit an application for reemployment within 90 days of the end of the period of service.

If a staff member communicates with the university, within the applicable 14 days or 90 days, and tells the university that he or she is available to return to work after uniformed service, the university will offer reemployment to a staff member.

3.   Effect of Tardiness in Reporting Back to Work

If a staff member misses the relevant deadline as outlined in this policy by a day or two, he or she is entitled to reemployment, but he or she may be subject to the university’s attendance policies and procedures. For example, assume that a staff member is returning from a period of 179 days of service and has 14 days to submit an application for reemployment. If a staff member submits the application for re-employment on day 15, he or she has the right to reemployment, but may be subject to the university’s attendance policies and procedures.

4.   Five Year Limit

If a staff member leaves employment to enter active duty in a U.S. military service, he or she has certain reemployment rights, generally up to a maximum of five years. The five-year limit is measured from the date of commencement of a staff member’s employment relationship with the university. Uniformed service performed before a staff member’s hire date is irrelevant for purposes of a staff member’s rights for the university. Reserve and National Guard training and involuntary call-ups do not count toward a staff member’s five-year limit. Some voluntary service may also be excluded in computing the five-year limit depending on the circumstances.

B.  Reemployment Criteria 

1.   Period of 1-90 Days of Service 

If a staff member’s period of uniformed service is less than 91 days, he or she is entitled, upon reemployment, to the same position that he or she would have attained if he or she had been continuously employed.

2.   Period of 91 Days of Service or More 

If the period of uniformed service was 91 days or more, the university has the option to reemploy a returning staff member either in the position that he or she would have attained or, alternatively, in another position of like seniority, status, and rate of pay. Status includes hours of work (e.g., day shift instead of night shift), and opportunity to be promoted, etc. If the university offers a returning staff member reemployment in an alternative position, the university will ensure that the alternative position is equivalent in all respects to the position that he or she would have attained if continuously employed. In addition, if the university offers a returning staff member reemployment in an alternative position, it will be a position for which a staff member is qualified.

VI.  Status of Employee Benefits and Accruals While on Active Military Duty 

While on Military Leave, a staff member is eligible for certain staff member benefits as outlined in the table below:

Benefits                        

Eligibility

Sick Leave

Maintain balance and access; no accrual

Vacation Leave

Maintain balance and access; no accrual

Floating Holiday Pay

Maintain balance and access; no accrual

Health Care Benefits

The university will deduct a staff member’s portion of the premiums for his or her health care benefits. When a staff member no longer receives university pay, he or she must submit premium payments directly to the university. A staff member will have a 30-day grace period within which to make payment. If a staff member does not make premium payments by the end of the grace period, his or her flexible benefit coverage will be cancelled.

A staff member may elect to continue health care benefits under terms similar to continuation coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA). Or, a staff member may elect to discontinue coverage if a staff member’s military plan becomes primary coverage. Coverage will resume upon return to work.

Life Insurance

No continued coverage during Military Leave 

Long-Term Disability

No continued coverage during Military Leave

Retirement Savings Plan Contributions

Institution plan contributions and elective deferrals stop during duration of Military Leave. Upon reinstatement, the university is required to provide institution plan contributions that would have been given had a staff member been employed by the university. A staff member can elect to “catch up” elective deferrals when he or she returns to work.

Education Benefits

No continued coverage during Military Leave 

 

 

Continuation of Health Care Insurance Coverage During Service 

A staff member who notifies the university that he or she will be away from work performing military service is entitled to elect continued health care insurance coverage during the military-related absence from work. If the period of service (as called for in a staff member’s military orders) is for less than 31 days, the university will charge only a staff member’s share of the cost of the coverage. If the period of service is greater than 30 days, the university may charge up to 102% of the entire premium, including the part that the employer normally pays in the case of an active staff member. The university will make this continuing coverage available to a staff member who is away from work for service until the first of the following occurs:

  1. A staff member returns to work after service.
  2. A staff member allows the deadline for an application for reemployment to pass without having made such an application.
  3. Eighteen (18) months have passed since a staff member left his or her university position for service.

The right to reinstated coverage after service is not contingent on continuing coverage during service. A staff member who leaves for service of more than 30 days may choose to not elect continued coverage during service, because during his or her service, he or she is entitled to use the military health care system.

VII.  Status of Other Related Terms and Conditions of Employment

1.   Performance Reviews

If a staff member is on Military Leave at the time he or she is scheduled to receive a performance review, he or she will receive a performance review within a reasonable time following his or her return to work.

2.   Pay Increases

If a staff member is on Military Leave at the time he or she is scheduled to receive a pay increase, his or her pay increase will take effect on the next pay cycle after he or she returns to work.

3.   Changes in Employment Status/Reductions in Force/Restructuring 

If a staff member’s position is eliminated while he or she is on an approved Military Leave, he or she will be notified of the position elimination and the employment termination date.

VIII.    Continuous Accumulation of Longevity For Seniority Purposes

A staff member who returns to employment with the university after service in the uniformed services, and who meets the eligibility criteria, is entitled to continuous university longevity for the entire period of the military related absence. This includes the period between leaving the position and the start of the service, the period of service, the period (up to 90 days) during which a staff member waited to submit the application for reemployment, and the period between the application for reemployment and returning to work.

For example, assume a staff member joined the university on January 1, 2000. On November 1, 2008, he or she gave the university notice of impending service and left his or her position on November 20, 2008. This staff member served on active duty from December 1, 2008 to November 30, 2009, and he or she applied for reemployment on January 15, 2010. Upon his or her return to work on January 29, 2010, he or she is entitled to continuous university seniority since January 1, 2000. Upon reemployment, this staff member is entitled to pay raises, promotions, and other benefits that he or she would have received, in accordance with seniority, at any time between November 2008 and January 2010. 

The university will accord a staff member (and all others similarly situated) the promotions, pay raises, and benefits that he or she would have received with reasonable certainty if he or she had been continuously employed.

IX.  Return of University Property

While a staff member is on a Military Leave for active duty military service, he or she will be required to return university-issued property. When a staff member returns to work, he or she will be issued the university equipment needed and normally assigned for the position.

X.     Training or Retraining

If a staff member returns to work after a period of military service, he or she may find that many things have changed in the interim. A returning staff member will be provided the training or retraining that he or she would have received if continuously employed but for the military related absence.

XI.   Special Protection Against Termination       

A returning staff member who meets the eligibility criteria described in this policy may not be terminated, except for cause, within one year after reemployment, if a staff member’s period of service was 181 days or more. If the period of service was 31-180 days, the period of special protection is 180 days. 

XII.      Entitlements of a Returning Disabled Staff Member 

A staff member who has been called to serve may return with temporary or permanent physical limitations, resulting from service-connected injuries or illnesses. In such a situation, the university will make reasonable accommodations to enable a staff member to perform the duties of his or her reinstatement position (the position that he or she would have attained if continuously employed). If a staff member cannot be reinstated in the reinstatement position, he or she is entitled to reinstatement in some other position, the duties of which he or she can perform despite the limitations. A staff member is entitled to the position that comes as close as possible (in terms of seniority, status, and pay) to the position to which he or she would be entitled but for the disability.

XIII.    Reinstatement of Health Insurance Coverage 

A staff member returning from service, and who meets the eligibility criteria, as outlined in this policy, is entitled to immediate reinstatement of the university health care benefits coverage upon reemployment. This applies to coverage for a staff member and for family members who would have been covered if a staff member had been continuously employed. This also includes children born or adopted during a staff member’s military-related absence from work. There are no waiting periods, and no exclusion of “pre-existing conditions” except for conditions that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has determined to be service-connected.

XIV.       Non-Seniority Related Benefits 

A staff member who is away from work performing service in the uniformed services is entitled to non-seniority benefits, during a military-related absence, if and to the extent that the university offers such benefits to a staff member on some other form of leave, like Jury Leave or Educational Leave. Since the university has more than one form of non-military leave, the comparison will be to the most generous form of leave that the university provides, whether that leave is paid or unpaid.

XV.   Military Family Leave 

If a staff member is the spouse or a state registered domestic partner (“partner” for purposes of this policy) of a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves, he or she will be provided an unpaid leave of absence of up to fifteen (15) days per deployment to visit and be with his or her spouse or partner after the military spouse or partner has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty and before deployment or when he or she is on leave from a deployment, as long as:

  • A staff member works an average of at least 20 hours per week; and
  • A staff member’s spouse or partner is either (1) a member of the Armed Forces deployed during a period of military conflict, or (2) a member of the National Guard or Reserves who has been deployed during a period of military conflict.

A staff member may, but is not required to, use available sick leave, vacation leave and/or floating holiday pay for Military Family Leave.

A staff member must submit a request to take a Military Family Leave within five business days receiving notice that his or her spouse or partner will be on leave from deployment, and must submit written documentation certifying that his or her spouse or partner will be on leave from deployment during the time the Military Family Leave is requested.

XVI.       Protection Against Discrimination

A staff member who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service or requests and/or takes Military Family Leave, will not be denied initial employment, re-employment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by the university on the basis of that membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation.

Uniformed ServicesThe uniformed services are the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service. This includes the Reserve components of these services and the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.   

Reemployment rights under USERRA are also extended to any category of persons designated by the President in times of war or emergency and to persons who serve as Intermittent Disaster Response Appointees (IDRAs). IDRAs are temporary, intermittent employees of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They respond, often on very short notice, to emergencies involving infectious diseases or weapons of mass destruction, and they also engage in training for such dire contingencies. They are protected by USERRA both for actual emergencies and for training.

Washington law also extends military leave coverage to state call-ups of National Guard in times of natural disaster, riots or other defined duty. 

USERRA broadly defines the term “service in the uniformed services,” as follows:

The term “service in the uniformed services” means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty, a period for which a staff member is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of a staff member to perform any such duty, and a period for which a staff member is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of performing funeral honors duty.

USERRA is not limited to the National Guard and Reserve. A staff member who leaves employment with the university for service in the regular military also can have rights under USERRA. The law also protects a staff member who takes a day or two off from work for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to join any branch of the service. After completion of such an examination, regardless of the outcome, a staff member is entitled to reemployment under USERRA.

Origination Date: 1/1981
Revised: 2008, 3/16/2011