VI. 606 - Military Leave
Drury University supports the rights and obligations of its employees to serve in the U.S. uniformed services in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). It is the policy of the university to comply with USERRA and all other federal, state, and local laws. This policy applies to any person employed by the company, other than temporary employees.
The term “uniformed services” means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves, Public Health Service, and any other category designated by the President of the United States in time of service or emergency.
Services in the Uniformed Services
The term “service in the uniformed services” means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service and includes active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty, funeral honors duty performed by National Guard or reserve members, duty performed by intermittent employees of the National Disaster Medical System, and a period for which a person is absent from employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of the person to perform any such uniformed services duty.
University policy prohibits discrimination against a person who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform services in a uniformed services. In general, these individuals may not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment based on membership in the uniformed services, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation.
Further, any employee who files a complaint of discrimination will not be adversely affected in terms or conditions of employment and will not be retaliated against or discharged because of the complaint. In addition, the university will not tolerate retaliation against any employee who cooperates in the investigation of a complaint. Any manager or supervisor who engages in such retaliatory behavior will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
Requests for Leave
A military leave of absence will be granted to employees who are absent from work because of service in the U.S. uniformed services in accordance with USERRA. Advance notice of military service is required, unless military necessity prevents such notice or it is otherwise impossible or unreasonable. Notice may be either written or verbal.
The leave of absence will be unpaid unless otherwise mandated by state law. However, employees may use accrued vacation pay, personal days, or any other similar accrued pay, except sick pay, during the military leave. The university does not require employees to use paid vacation leave to apply toward a uniformed service leave.
Continuation of Health Benefits
During a military leave of 30 days or less, an employee is entitled to continued group health plan coverage under the same conditions as if the employee had continued to work. For military leaves of more then 30 days, an employee may elect to continue his/her health coverage for up to 24 months after the absence begins or for the period of service, whichever period is shorter. Employees may be required to pay all or part of the premium for the continuation coverage.
To be eligible for reemployment, an employee must:
- Give the university advance notice of the leave;
- Have no more than five years of total absences from the university for all military service;
- Not separate from service with a disqualifying discharge or under other than honorable conditions; and
- Timely return to work or apply for reemployment.
Upon return from military service, an employee must provide notice of reemployment or submit an application for reemployment in accordance with the following schedule:
- An employee whose military service lasted from 1 to 30 days or who reported for a fitness examination must provide notice of reemployment at the beginning of the first regularly schedule work day that would fall eight hours after the person returns home from military service.
- An employee whose military service lasts from 31 to 180 days must make an application for reemployment no later than 14 days after completion of the period of military service.
- An employee whose military service lasts more than 180 days must make an application for reemployment no later than 90 days after the completion of the period of military service.
- An employee who has been hospitalized or is recovering from an injury incurred or aggravated while serving must report to the Human Resources Department (if the service was less than 31 days), or submit an application for reemployment (if the service was greater than 30 days), at the end of the necessary recovery period (which may not exceed two years from the actual separation date).
An employee’s reemployment rights are not automatically forfeited if the employee fails to report to work or to apply for reemployment within the required time limits. However, the employee will then be subject to the university’s rules governing unexcused absences.
The university will not reemploy an individual when:
- The university’s circumstances have so changed as to make such reemployment impossible or unreasonable;
- The individual has incurred a disability or aggravated a disability during such service, and, after reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability, is no longer qualified due to such disability and cannot be re-qualified and rehired without imposing an undue hardship upon the company; or
- The original employment was temporary with no reasonable expectation of continued employment.
An employee whose military service was for more than 30 days must provide documentation within two weeks of his/her return (unless such documentation does not yet exist or is not readily available) showing the following: (1) the application for reemployment is timely; (2) the period of active duty service has not exceeded five years; and (3) the employee received an honorable or general discharge.
An employee serving from 1 to 90 days will be reemployed in the position the person would have held had the person remained continuously employed, so long as the person is qualified for the position or can become qualified after reasonable efforts to qualify the person; or in the position of employment in which the person was employed on the date of the commencement of the service in the uniformed services, only if the person is not qualified to perform the duties of the position referred to above after reasonable efforts to qualify the person.
If the employee cannot become qualified for either position described above (other than for a disability incurred in or aggravated by the military service) even after reasonable efforts, the person is to be reemployed in a position that is the nearest approximation to the positions described above (in that order) which the person is able to perform, with full seniority.
A person serving 91 days or more will be reemployed in the position the person would have held had the person remained continuously employed or a position of like seniority, status and pay, so long as the person is qualified for the job or can become qualified after reasonable efforts to qualify the person; or in the position of employment in which the person was employed on the date of the commencement of the service in the uniformed services, or a position of like seniority, status, and pay the duties of the position referred to above after reasonable efforts to qualify the person.
If the employee cannot become qualified for the positions above, he/she may be reemployed in any other position of lesser status and pay, but that most nearly approximates the above positions (in that order) that the employee is qualified to perform, with full seniority.
A person who is reemployed pursuant to USERRA following 31 or more days of service cannot be discharged except “for cause” pursuant to the following schedule:
- For six months after the date of reemployment if the person’s period of military service was for 31 to 180 days.
- For one year after the date of reemployment if the person’s period of military service was for more than 180 days.
Rights of Employed Persons
Benefits will be continued during a military leave according to applicable state and federal laws. Upon reemployment, persons are entitled to all seniority-related benefits as if they had remained continuously employed. Service members will be provided all rights and benefits not based on seniority to the extent that those rights and benefits are available to other employees on non-military leaves of absence, whether paid or unpaid. If there is a variation among different types of nonmilitary leave, the most favored treatment will be accorded to the service member. Participation and benefits under retirement plans will be granted in accordance with federal law.
If, prior to leaving for military service, an employee knowingly provides clear, written notice of intent not to return to work after military service, the employee waives the entitlement to non-seniority leave-of-absence rights and benefits. The employee must be aware of the specific right and benefits to be lost. If the employee lacks the awareness or is otherwise coerced, the waiver will be ineffective.
Notice of intent not to return to work can waive only non-seniority leave-of-absence rights and benefits. Service members cannot surrender other rights and benefits that a person would be entitled to under the law, particularly reemployment rights.
For further information, contact a member of the Human Resources Department at 873-7434.