Compliance Showcase: Military Leave Trends and Considerations

Tasha Patterson@Work


When Service Members Come Home: Military Leave Trends and Considerations

By Sheri Pullen, Senior Compliance Manager, ReedGroup

Since the earliest days of the United States, when the Continental Army fought British forces in the U.S. colonies, employers have always had to prepare for employees being called to duty and then returning home. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), passed in 1994, is the latest in a series of laws that protect employees’ rights regarding leave due to service in the armed forces.

However, even though USERRA has been the law for more than a quarter century, employers and employees still struggle with its nuances. What types of service are covered? How much work can an employee miss due to military service? An early 2021 amendment to USERRA further muddied the waters, as did a handful of recent court cases regarding pay during military leave.

As a reminder, USERRA applies to all employers, regardless of size. There are no length of employment or hours of service requirements for employees. Full- and part-time employees, as well as temporary and seasonal employees, are entitled to the rights and benefits under USERRA. The only employees ineligible for USERRA coverage are those intentionally hired with an understanding that their employment period would be brief.

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