The Military Family Leave Act, or USERRA, is a policy similar to FMLA which allows employees to take unpaid leave. Like FMLA, this applies to companies with 50 or more employees and allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. Should an employee be called to duty, they can take paid time off to prepare and depending on the length of their service, take time when they return from deployment.
Employees may also take up to 26 weeks unpaid leave to care for a covered service member returning from a service related injury. The illness or injury must have occurred within the last 5 years and while on active duty. This additional 14 weeks can run concurrent with FMLA. For example, an employee may take 12 weeks of FMLA leave and an additional 14 weeks of military leave immediately following.
Employment Reinstatement under USERRA
Under USERRA, an employer must reinstate the employee returning from the service of they meet the below 5 criteria:
- Held a civilian job prior to call on duty
- Gave notice prior to leave
- The cumulative period or absence has not exceeded 5 years
- The individual was not released from service under dishonorable or punitive conditions
- Reported back to civilian job in a timely manner
Reinstatement Time Limits
As mentioned above, the reinstatement time limits are based on length of time in the service as follows:
- Less than 31 days of service: By first scheduled work period end of service, plus time to return home and an 8 hour rest period, or as soon as possible
- 31-180 days: no more than 14 days after completion of service
- 181 days or more: no more than 90 days after completion of service
- Service related injury or illness: up to 2 years if hospitalized or convalescing
Note: The same requirements as FMLA regarding documentation and certifications apply. Click here to see our FMLA blog for further details.