The United States has one of the most robust and well-regimented militaries in the world. With over 1.2 million people serving in a branch of the military, it is highly likely that a company will have an employee (or several) that needs to take leave in order to fulfill their military commitments.

For those who serve in the military and also have jobs in the civilian sector, military leave provides the ability for those employees to fulfill their military duties without worrying about whether or not they will still have their full-time positions when they return.

Like FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act) leave, military leave is mandated by the federal government, however, unlike FMLA, there is no minimum amount of employees a company must have before military leave must be granted.

Here is more information on how military leave affects both the employer and employee and what the rules for military leave are:

Benefits for Employees:

  • Protection from discrimination on the basis of military service.
  • Protection from termination for a period after returning from service.
  • The right to re-employment on the conclusion of military service.
  • Certain rights in connection with pensions and other employee benefit plans.

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • The employee must give notice of the need to leave for military service. The notice may be oral; employers cannot demand written notice.
  • The employee must have been released from service under honorable conditions.
  • The employee must not exceed five years of military leave with any particular employer (some exceptions apply). Annual training and monthly drills do not count against the cumulative total.

Return from Leave:

  • The employee must return to the same or equivalent position.
  • If absent during Performance Review season, the employee should still receive a review as if he/she was not on leave during that time.
  • The employee should receive any pay increases/bonuses that he/she would be entitled to if not on leave.

If you have an employee that gets called to serve and you are unsure of how to handle the leave request, reach out to our team of knowledgeable HR professionals for assistance. Give us a call at 803.714.3715 to see how we can help.