At many businesses, the call to duty extends beyond the boardroom. Recognizing the vital contributions of employees who serve in the military is both a moral imperative and a strategic advantage. To make sure these individuals can fulfill both their job requirements and their service commitment, your company needs a Military Leave Policy.

A Military Leave Policy is more than just a formality—it’s a powerful statement of support, ensuring your employees can fulfill their responsibilities with peace of mind.

What is a Military Leave Policy?

It’s a set of guidelines established by a company to govern the rights and responsibilities of employees who are members of the Armed Forces—the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or National Guard—when they’re called to active duty or reserve duty.

Beyond setting expectations for service members, a leave policy also helps to ensure compliance with legal requirements. Its role is ultimately to support employees who serve in the military, while maintaining operational continuity within the organization.

What Should be Included?

A well-rounded policy should encompass several key components to effectively address the needs of employees called to active duty or reserve duty. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what should be included:

  • Eligibility: Determination of which employees are eligible for military leave benefits, usually based on their status as active or reserve military personnel.
  • Notification Procedures: Guidelines outlining how employees should notify their employer of their military service obligations, including the submission of official orders.
  • Duration of Leave: Specification of the duration of leave allowed for military duty, including any extensions or modifications based on the nature of the deployment.
  • Pay and Benefits: Clarification on whether the company provides differential pay to supplement the difference between an employee’s military pay and their regular salary, as well as whether benefits such as health insurance and retirement contributions are maintained during military leave.
  • Reinstatement Rights: Policies addressing the rights of employees to return to their previous positions or equivalent positions upon completion of military service, in accordance with federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • Training and Education: Provision of support for military training and education opportunities, including any policies regarding paid time off for reserve training obligations.
  • Additional Considerations: Other relevant details, such as coordination with military leave laws at the state and federal levels, procedures for handling documentation related to military leave, and support resources available to employees and their families during deployment.

By including these components in a Military Leave Policy, companies can provide clear guidance and support to employees who serve in the military. It can also eliminate uncertainties or questions for how to handle service member leaves of absence from an operational standpoint.

Does my Company Need one?

If you have service members on staff, you need to have one. And, even if you don’t currently employ active duty service members, it’s wise to have one. Some of the core considerations that factor into creating this policy include:

  • Legal Requirements: USERRA requires employers to grant leave for military service and provides for the reinstatement of employees returning from military duty. Compliance with USERRA may necessitate the establishment of a Military Leave Policy to ensure that employees’ rights are protected and that the company fulfills its obligations under the law.
  • Operational Considerations: Military deployments or training obligations may impact staffing and operational needs within the company. Having a policy in place can help management plan for these situations and minimize disruptions to business operations.
  • Culture and Values: If your company values diversity, inclusion, and supporting employees’ personal and professional growth, having a Military Leave Policy can align with these values by demonstrating support for employees who serve their country.

While not every company may be legally required to have a Military Leave Policy, establishing one can provide clarity, support, and compliance with legal requirements. Ultimately, it benefits both the company and its employees.

Create Your Own Military Leave Policy

There’s no telling when service members will be called upon to serve their country. As anyone in the Armed Forces will tell you, being prepared for the unexpected is the best way to handle unforeseen situations when they arise. For many companies, that means being able to rely on a strong Military Leave Policy.

Create your own military leave policy with SixFifty. Schedule a demo today.