Military Leave and Employment

HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Military Leave and Employment

What is Military Leave?

Military leave is a type of employee leave granted to employees who are associated with a branch of the U.S. armed forces or National Guard and are called into duty.

There are a variety of regulations in place to protect servicemembers in regard to their civilian employment, particularly concerning reemployment and continuing employer-provided health insurance coverage. 

What Protections are in Place for Service Members who Take Military Leave?

According to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), service members who are called into duty are guaranteed rights to be reemployed in their civilian job if they leave it for uniformed service. 

In contrast with some other employment regulations, USERRA rules apply to every employer, regardless of its size or number of employees. This also includes both part-time and full-time status workers. 

Additionally, these individuals are guaranteed a right to be free from discrimination and retaliation for this service, and a right to continue their employer-provided health insurance for up to 24 months while serving in the military—including coverage for dependents. 

A full list of military leave employment rights can be found here.

What Types of Uniformed Services Are Entitled to Military Leave?

USERRA also extends employment and reemployment rights to employees who have been absent from employment due to “service in the uniformed services”. Uniformed services include:

  • Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard
  • Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve
  • Army National Guard and Air National Guard
  • Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
  • Any other category of persons designated by the President in time of war or emergency

What Agency Enforces Military Leave Protections?

The Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS)—an agency within the Department of Labor (DOL)—is authorized to investigate issues relating to USERRA and military leave.

Related Terms: Employee Leave

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