Military/Nonmilitary-Related Obligation Pay and Leave

I. Purpose

This policy presents the organization’s obligations in complying with The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and stipulates compensation parameters for nonworking time granted due to certain military training and service obligations.

II. Scope

All full-time, part-time, and supplemental status employees with regularly scheduled hours are covered by this policy. Supplemental status employees with an FTE status of zero and temporary status employees are excluded.

III. Definitions

• Discretionary Leave/Nonmilitary Service (more than 30 calendar days): Personal leave referenced under the Discretionary Leave of Absence policy (HR-106), which is an inactive status associated with absence from work without pay by reason of nonmilitary service in excess of thirty (30) calendar days not to exceed 12 months.

• Military Leave of Absence (MLOA): An inactive status associated with absence from work without pay by reason of military service in excess of 30 calendar days not to exceed five cumulative years.

• Military-Related Obligation: Any training or service time associated with the Uniformed Services.

• Nonmilitary-Related Obligation: Any service time required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

• Uniformed Services: Refers to the armed forces (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard); the Army and Air National Guard when engaged in active duty for training, inactive duty training, or full-time National Guard duty; the commission corps of the Public Health Service, and any other category of people designated by the president in time of war or national emergency.

• Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): refers to USERRA, signed into law in October 1994, which prohibits discrimination against people because of their service in the Armed Forces Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed services. USERRA prohibits an employer from denying any benefit of employment and protects the rights of veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and certain other members of the uniformed services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent due to military training or service.

IV. Policy Statements

A. USERRA protections do not make any distinctions based upon the category of military training or service or the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of the service. People absent from employment by reason of service in the uniformed services are protected by USERRA.

B. Any employee who requests a military leave status to perform service in the uniformed services, voluntarily or involuntarily, is entitled to return to his/her job if the following eligibility criteria under USERRA are met:

1. Gave advance written or verbal notice of the service unless circumstances made giving advance notice impossible, unreasonable, or was precluded by military necessity.

2. Has not exceeded a cumulative length of uniformed service of five years.

3. Submits a timely application for reemployment by specified guidelines that vary based on the length of military service.

4. Has separated from military service under honorable conditions (this applies to all types of service).

C. Military-Related Obligations (less than 30 calendar days):

1. Any employee serving in the armed forces Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed service (i.e., retired personnel of the naval, air, or ground forces) are entitled to leave for military-related obligations.

2. The organization will pay an employee for no more than 15 days in any calendar year for these obligations. Payment for all scheduled workdays that fall within this period will be the difference between the employee’s base rate of pay, including associated differentials (excluding overtime), and the pay received for the military obligation that was performed on what would have been a regularly scheduled workday.

This provision applies to any military-related obligation for which the employee has military orders, but normally does not apply to regularly scheduled weekend military-related obligations. Military pay for weekend military-related obligations is applicable if the employee has a regular work schedule that includes Saturdays and/or Sundays, is scheduled to work the weekend, and is also ordered by the military.

3. Military service time should be designated with the appropriate code in Timeline, and the employee must provide proof (i.e., military check or pay stub) to the payroll department of the amount earned during the military-related obligation before a paycheck will be issued.

4. Upon request from an employee, management may approve paid time off (PTO) to be taken in waiver of the 15 days in any calendar year stipulation. Any absences requested and approved in excess of 15 calendar days should not exceed 30 calendar days. Managers may use discretion in approving the time off without pay. Under both circumstances benefits continue to accrue.

5. Any time requested in excess of 30 calendar days would fall under a formal military leave of absence.

D. MLOA (more than 30 calendar days):

1. MLOA is an inactive status associated with absence from work in excess of 30 calendar days, without pay, granted to employees who perform service, either voluntarily or involuntarily, in the uniformed services.

2. A leave of absence for training and service may not exceed five cumulative years.

3. Periodic and Special Reserve National Guard training, most National Guard service during time of state or national emergency, initial enlistments lasting more than five years, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls are not subject to the five year limitation.

4. When an employee enters the uniformed services for extended active duty beyond 30 calendar days, the following apply if the employee is benefits eligible:

  1. coverage up to the date active military duty commences;
  2. may elect to continue medical and dental coverage for up to 18 months and pay not more than 100% of the full premium;
  3. may elect to convert any employee or dependent life insurance to an individual policy through the carrier.

5. Upon return from MLOA, an employee must report to work or submit an application for reemployment by certain specified deadlines that vary based upon the length of military service. Failure to apply in a timely manner may impact entitlement to full reemployment benefits.

6. Upon re-employment, the employee will be reinstated into the position, which was vacated or one of similar status and pay, subject to the same adjustments in pay and benefits that would have been received had the employee remained in the position provided. If the position was eliminated under the Restructuring/Staff Reduction policy, the employee will be subject to the options outlined under policy.

7. Upon reemployment, health plan coverage and employer pension contributions will resume without delay.

E. Nonmilitary-Related Obligation (less than 30 calendar days):

1. Any employee serving in a nonmilitary capacity who is formally mobilized by a sanctioned (i.e., presidential order) initiative through FEMA or SEMA will be approved for time off for a nonmilitary-related obligation.

2. The organization will pay an employee for no more than 15 days in any calendar year for these obligations. Payment for all scheduled workdays that fall within this period will be the difference between the employee’s base rate of pay, including associated differentials (excluding overtime), and pay received for the sanctioned nonmilitary-related obligation that was performed on what would have been a regularly scheduled workday.

3. Nonmilitary service time should be designated with the appropriate code in Timeline, and the employee must provide proof (i.e., nonmilitary check or pay stub) to the payroll department of the amount earned during the nonmilitary-related obligation before a paycheck will be issued.

4. Upon request from an employee, management may approve PTO to be taken in waiver of the 15 days in any calendar year stipulation. Any absences requested and approved in excess of 15 calendar days should not exceed 30 calendar days. Managers may use discretion in approving the time off without pay. Under both circumstances benefits continue to accrue.

F. Nonmilitary-Related Obligation (more than 30 calendar days). Any time requested and approved by management for a nonmilitary-related obligation more than 30 calendar days would fall under the Discretionary Leave of Absence policy. Although current policy does not list a nonmilitary-related obligation as a reason, absences of this nature would be considered for personal reasons. The employee would be subject to return to work under the condition the leave was granted.

V. Responsibility

The department director is responsible for consistent application of this policy within a department. The director of employee relations/human resources information systems (HRIS) is responsible for consistent application of this policy throughout the organization.

VI. Exceptions

Exceptions to this policy require authorization by the director of employee relations/HRIS prior to any action being taken.

VII. Cross-Reference

Discretionary Leave of Absence policy; Restructuring/Staff Reduction policy

VIII. Procedure

A. Employees must give advance verbal or written (preferably written) notice of service unless circumstances make giving advance notice impossible, unreasonable, or was precluded by an emergency nonmilitary or military necessity. Written notification is retained by department management and used for time record coding in Timeline.

B. The organization will pay an employee for 15 days in any calendar year for military or nonmilitary-related obligations. Payment will be the difference between the employee’s base rate of pay, including associated differentials (excluding overtime), and the pay received for the military or sanctioned nonmilitary-related obligation that was performed on what would have been a regularly scheduled workday.

C. Military and nonmilitary-related obligations should be designated with the appropriate code in Timeline, and the employee must provide proof (i.e., military or nonmilitary check or pay stub) to the payroll department before a paycheck will be issued.

D. Upon request from an employee, management may approve PTO to be taken in waiver of the 15 paid days in any calendar year stipulation. Any absences requested and approved in excess of 15 calendar days should not exceed 30 calendar days. Managers may use discretion in approving the time off without pay up to the 30-day limit. Under both circumstances, benefits continue to accrue.

E. Any time requested in excess of 30 calendar days for a military-related obligation should be designated as a Military Leave of Absence. Job restoration conditions would be subject to those established under USERRA.

F. A nonmilitary-related absence should be designated as a Discretionary Leave of Absence for personal reasons. Employees would be subject to the job restoration conditions established when the leave was granted.

G. Upon return from a military or nonmilitary-related obligation less than 30 calendar days, the employee is subject to the following return to work deadlines:

1. One to 30 calendar days: The employee must return at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled shift on the first full day after release from service, taking into account safe travel home plus an eight-hour rest period.

2. Being absent from work to take a military fitness-for-service examination requires reporting back to work by the beginning of the first regularly scheduled shift that would fall eight hours after returning home.

H. An employee must complete a Request for Military Leave of Absence (RMLOA) form for any absence of 31 calendar days or more, unless precluded by military necessity. RMLOA requests must be granted.

1. Department management is responsible for reviewing the benefit information and return from leave procedures with the employee. Department management provides the employee with a Clearance Checklist form and instructs the employee to proceed through the clearance process.

2. Department management forwards a copy of the approved form to HRIS.

I. Upon return from military service in excess of 31 calendar days, the employee submits an application for reemployment by the following specified deadlines that vary based upon the length of military service:

1. 31 to 180 calendar days: The employee must submit an application for reemployment within 14 calendar days of release from military service. Application may be written or oral, as long as it clearly conveys the person is a returning service member seeking reemployment. If it is impossible for the employee to submit timely, an exception to the 14 calendar days would be to apply for re-employment the next full calendar day after it becomes possible to submit an application.

2. 181 calendar days or more: The employee must make application for reemployment within 90 calendar days after completing the period of military service.

J. Any employee who is hospitalized or convalescing from an illness or injury incurred or aggravated during a military-related obligation must report to the employer and submit an application for re-employment at the end of the necessary recovery period. The employee must apply for return to work within two years unless circumstances make it unreasonable or impossible to do so.

K. Upon completion of a military-related obligation (more than 30 calendar days), the employee is reinstated into the position which was vacated, or one of similar status and pay, subject to the same adjustments in pay and benefits that would have been received had the employee remained in the position, provided the employee is honorably discharged. If the employee’s position was not held, Employment Services works with the employee for placement into a position of similar status and pay. If the position was eliminated under the Restructuring/Staff Reduction policy, the employee is subject to the options outlined under policy.

L. The employee must successfully complete a health assessment with Employee Occupational Health Services prior to returning to work if the leave period exceeds 30 calendar days.

M. Depending upon the reemployment process and return to work status, the appropriate documentation (i.e., employee data change) is completed by either department management or Employment Services.

Source: Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis.