Revised January 2011
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers certain job protections for armed services personnel who are called-up or volunteer to serve. The university complies with USERRA in determining its policy on military service and call to duty. The following guidelines provide general information only. This policy is not intended to address all possible issues that may arise. If you are called to duty or have specific questions, please immediately contact Human Resources.
Employees who volunteer for or are involuntarily inducted into military service or called to active duty have employment rights protected by federal law (USERRA) and accompanying regulations.
The cumulative length of service that causes a person absences from a position may not exceed five years. Most types of service will be cumulatively counted in the computation of the five-year period.
The law requires all employees to provide their employers with advance notice of military service. This notice may be written or oral. No notice is required if military necessity prevents the giving of notice; or the giving of notice is otherwise impossible or unreasonable. An employee’s failure to give advance notice deprives the employee of the benefits of the law and this policy, unless the employee can demonstrate that providing notice was impossible, unreasonable or precluded by military considerations.
Military call to duty will be treated as leave of absence without pay.
As with other leaves without pay, vacation and sick time do not accrue while the employee is on military leave. Vacation time that had accrued before initiating military service may be used during this leave.
Medical/dental benefits – For absences of less than 30 days, benefits continue as if the employee had not been absent. For absences of 31 days or more, PLU group coverage stops unless the employee elects to pay the applicable insurance premium (102% of the then current rate) for up to 24 months under USERRA. When the employee returns to work at the university, health insurance will be reinstated with no waiting period, except for coverage of any illness or injury determined to have been incurred in or aggravated during military service. If the university cannot put the employee back to work immediately upon application, the health insurance will be restored immediately, unless return to work is not required for the reasons set forth under the law. While in military service, employees are also eligible for medical/dental benefits provided by the military, according to the terms of those benefit packages.
Retirement plan benefits – Contributions to the retirement plan will occur as required by federal law. In general, federal law provides that military service is not a break in service. When an employee returns from military service, the employer is required to make up the employer plan contributions that would have been made on behalf of the employee had the employee not been absent. The specific provisions and requirements may be addressed with Human Resources prior to or during any military leave.
Employees in a without benefits status upon taking military leave do not become eligible for those benefits they did not receive either during or following leave, unless they return to work in a with benefits status.
Regulations are as follows:
- If the employee is on duty 30 days or less, the employee must return to work the next regular workday.
- If the employee is on duty 31 to 180 days, the employee must reapply within 14 days.
- If the employee was on duty more than 180 days, he or she must reapply within 90 days.
Re-instatement upon return from military leave of absence:
- Except with respect to persons who have a disability that occurred in or was aggravated by military service (see below), the position into which an employee is reinstated is determined by priority based on the length of military service.
- Service of 1 to 90 days-the job the person would have held had he or she remained continuously employed.
- Service of 91 or more days-the same as for service of 1 to 90 days, or a position of like seniority, status and pay, so long as he or she is qualified to fill such position.
PLU is not required to re-employ a person returning from a military leave if:
- The employee was discharged from the military and the discharge was not honorable;
- Circumstances at the university have changed so much that reemployment is impossible or unreasonable;
- If the employee is no longer qualified for his or her prior position despite reasonable efforts to re-qualify that person and if reemployment would pose an undue hardship to the university; or
- The original employment was only temporary or of short duration with no reasonable expectation that it would continue indefinitely.