HR - Personal Military Leaves (USERRA) - MA & CA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include faculty and staff unless otherwise stipulated in the sections below. All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. 

Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), eligible employees are granted leaves of absence based upon military service orders as follows:

  • Voluntary or involuntary performance of active duty
  • Training and military fitness examinations
  • Funeral honors duty and other military obligations associated with service in the uniformed services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves, Army or Air National Guard and Commissioned Corps of the Public Health).

Generally, the cumulative length of military leaves may not exceed five (5) years.

Policy Guidelines

Eligibility

All faculty employees and staff employees are immediately eligible for Personal Military Leave for their own military service.

Employees who leave their jobs to serve in the uniformed services will be eligible for reemployment provided:

  • They ensure that the College receives advance written or verbal notice of their service (see note below); 
  • They have five (5) years or less of cumulative service in the uniformed services while employed by the College (with certain limited exceptions, military leave from employment may not exceed five (5) years); 
  • They return to work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner (see: Return from Leave and Reemployment below) after the conclusion of their military service; and
  • They have not been separated from military service with a disqualifying discharge or under other than honorable conditions.

Note: Employees must provide advance written or verbal notice to their managers and/or Human Resources for all military duty unless giving notice is not possible, unreasonable or precluded by military necessity.

Compensation During Personal Military Leave

Paid Time Off:  The College will pay eligible employees for the first two (2) weeks of Personal Military Leave for one’s own service (rolling twelve (12)-month period).  During these two (2) weeks, employees will be paid the difference between their regular pay and what they are paid by the military for their service if any.

Staff Employees Use of Personal and Vacation time:  After the first two (2) weeks of paid time off from work for Personal Military Leave, staff employees may request to use any or all of their accrued and unused personal and vacation time during the leave. Sick time may not be requested.

Return from Leave and Reemployment

Faculty employees and staff employees must notify the College of their intent to return to work at the completion of service as follows:

  • Employees on leave between 1 day and 30 days must report to their employer by the beginning of the first regularly scheduled work period that begins on the next calendar day following completion of service, after allowance for safe travel home from the military duty location and an 8-hour rest period
  • Employees on leave between 31 days and 180 days must provide written notice within 14 days following completion of the service
  • Employees on leave for 180 days or longer must provide written notice within 90 days after completion of service 

Employees taking Personal Military Leave have the right to be reemployed in their position or a comparable position if they meet the obligations set forth in USERRA.

Health Insurance

Initial Coverage Period: While an employee continues to be paid using personal time, vacation time, or sick time (as applicable to particular leaves of absence) coverage under the College’s medical and dental plans will continue at the same employee contribution rate in effect prior to the leave. 

Stability (Stabilization) Period: If employees have worked an average of 30 or more hours per week during the 12 consecutive months prior to the leave, coverage may continue at this same employer subsidized rate until the end of the current calendar year (January through December) associated with the commencement of the leave whether employees are in paid or unpaid status. Continuation of coverage during this period is contingent upon timely payment of the employee contribution amount by the employee (i.e., within 30 days following the beginning of the coverage month).

Post Initial Cover Period and/or Stability (Stabilization) Period  - COBRA:  Once this initial coverage period and/or stability period has ended, employees on Personal Military Leave may elect up to 24 additional months of COBRA continuation coverage by paying 102% of the monthly full premium rate. Affected employees will be notified of their COBRA rights by the College’s COBRA administrator.

Coverage Upon Return to Work: The employee will have the right to be reinstated in the College’s medical and dental plans upon returning to work (subject to the 5-year limit) at the end of the leave period.

Non-Discrimination and Retaliation

USERRA and the College prohibit employment discrimination against individuals on the basis of past military service, current military obligations, or intent to serve and will not deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment based on employees’ military service. In addition, the College prohibits retaliation against a person because of an action taken to enforce or exercise any rights under USSERA.

Other Information

Benefits and Salary Increases during Leave (Paid and Unpaid Leave)

See:  General Information for all FMLA Leaves policy for Massachusetts or California as applicable

Related policies

Key Offices to Contact 

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.     

Links to Procedures or Forms

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for assistance.

Definitions

Stability (Stabilization) Period: Under the Affordable Care Act, the stability period is the timeframe during which covered employees who worked the necessary amount of hours during the measurement period will actually be covered.  Even if employees’ hours fall short of the “full-time” qualified threshold during the stability period, employers much continue to provide coverage if they meet the eligibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  Employee inquiries related to this should contact the Emerson College Benefits Department at 617-824-8124.

The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment.  This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate, or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.

Policy Effective Date:  May 2019