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Policy 4.75

Responsible Official: VP for Human Resources
Administering Division/Department: Leaves of Absence
Effective Date: March 30, 2007
Last Revision: October 11, 2017

Policy Sections:


Emory provides military leave to leave-eligible employees in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and Georgia law. USERRA provides guidelines for employees who elect military leave and for the prompt reemployment of employees who left employment to perform military training or service in one of the Uniformed Services and have completed such service under honorable conditions.

The Uniformed Services include the Armed Forces, the Army National Guard, and Air National Guard when engaged in active duty for training, inactive duty training or full-time National Guard duty, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and any other category of persons designated by the President in time of war or emergency.

A person who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform service in a Uniformed Service shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service or obligation.

Policy Details


Employees who enter the Uniformed Services are entitled to military leave of absence without pay for a period not to exceed a cumulative total five years not to include those periods of service exempted by federal law (USERRA Regulations, 20 CFR & 1002.103).

The employee is required to provide notification of the need for military leave to the department as soon as reasonably possible. In addition, the employee should complete a Leave of Absence Request Form.  If available, a copy of the appropriate military orders or other supporting documentation for situations that do not warrant military orders should be attached  to the Leave of Absence Request Form.  When written orders are not provided in advance of leave, the department may request the orders upon return from leave. 

Departments should submt Human Resources Action Forms (HRAFs) to Human Resources, Employee Relations at the time of the military leave along with all supporting documentation placing the employee on military leave. This documentation should include the Leave of Absence Request Form, the military orders/supporting documentation when available, and a letter from the department to the employee confirming the reason and dates of the leave.

In accordance with federal law, employees are not required to use vacation leave for military leave:however, employees may elect to use their accrued, unused vacation leave. Employees electing to use accrued, unused vacation leave during a military leave must request in writing to use accrued, unused vacation leave balances.  Otherwise, the leave will be designated without pay for the entire leave period.

To the extent that military leave is taken as paid leave, employees on military leave will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave during the paid portion of the leave. Employees do not accrue sick or vacation leave while on unpaid leave.

Both paid and unpaid periods of military leave will be counted as credited service for all benefits that are based on length of service, including service awards. 

Employees who are absent from work for the reason of serving in the Uniformed Services, or for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to perform service in the Uniformed Services, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, are entitled to reemployment rights and other benefits if (1) the periods of absence from Emory attributable to service in the Uniformed Services do not exceed a cumulative total of 5 years not to include those periods of service expressly exempted from this 5-year limitation by federal law (USERRA Regulations, 20 CFR & 1002.103); (2) the employee is discharged under conditions that do not constitute other than honorable discharge; and (3) the employee reports for or applies for reemployment according to the following time limits:


  • Service of 1 to 30 days: the beginning of the next regularly scheduled work period on the first full day following completion of service and expiration of an 8-hour rest period following safe transprortation home.
  • Service of 31 to 180 days: application for reinstatement must be submitted not later than 14 days after completion of military duty.
  • Service of 181 or more days: application for reinstatement must be submitted not later than 90 days after completion of military duty.

Employees who, at the time of release from military service, are hospitalized for or recuperating from an illness or injury incurred or aggravated during the Uniformed Service must report for reemployment (if the period of military service was less than 31 days) or apply for reemployment (if the period of military service was 31 days or more) at the end of the period necessary for recovery from the illness or injury, provided the recovery period does not exceed two years.

Documentation must be provided to establish timeliness of application, and to ensure that all eligibility requirements for reemployment are met. Failure to provide documentation cannot be used as a basis to deny reemployment if the requested information is not readily available through no fault of the employee.

Emory is not required to reemploy an employee if the employment from which he/she leaves to serve in the Uniformed Services is for a brief, non-recurrent period and there is not a reasonable expectation that such employment will continue indefinitely or for a significant period.

Emory is not required to re-employ an employee returning from military leave if circumstances have changed so that reemployment would be impossible or unreasonable. This includes Reduction(s) in Force that may have taken place during the employee’s Military Leave. 

Departments must consult with Human Resources, Employee Relations before denying reemployment to an employee returning from military leave.


USERRA provides that,

  •  An employee whose period of Uniformed Service was less than 91 days must be reemployed, promptly, in a position that he/she would have attained with reasonable certainty if continuously employed (the "escalator position"). If not qualified for that position (after reasonable attempts to qualify the employee) the employee must be reemployed in the position he/she left, and if the employee is not qualified for the pre-service position (after reasonable aattempts to qualify the employee), the employee must be reemployed in any other position that is the nearest approximation first to the escalator position and then to the pre-service position, provided the employee qualified for the position (or can become qualified for the position through reasonable efforts by Emory). 
  • For an employee whose period of Uniformed Service was 91 days or more, the requirement is the same, however, a position of like seniority, status and pay may be offered in lieu of the escalator position or the pre-service position. 

An employee who has a disability incurred in, or aggravated during military service, and who (after reasonable efforts by the department to accommodate the disability) is not qualified due to the disability to be employed in the escalator position s/he would have attained but for the Uniformed Service must promptly be reemployed in any other position that is equivalent in seniority, status and pay to the escalator position.  If the employee is not qualified for an equivalent position due to the disability, the employee must promptly be reemployed in the nearest approximation to such a position in terms of seniority, status and pay, consistent with the circumstances of the person’s case.

Employees returning from military leave may not be dismissed, except for cause, within these time limits:

  • Within the first year of reemployment, if the period of service was more than 180 days, or
  • Within the first six (6) months of reemployment, if the period of service was between 30 and 180 days.

Health, Dental, Life & Flexible Spending Accounts
An employee and his/her dependents are eligible to continue to pay the employee’s monthly contribution for participation in the health and dental plan and medical flexible spending account while the employee is on military leave. The maximum period of coverage shall be the lesser of:

  • The 24-month period beginning the date the employee’s leave of absence begins; or
  • The day after the date on which the person fails to return to (or apply for) a position of employment as described in the applicable provision of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

    If the employee cancels his/her health and dental coverage while on leave, upon reemployment and returning to work, and within 31 days, the employee must notify Emory and apply for reenrollment in the health and dental plans in which he or she was enrolled prior to the leave.

    Emory will continue to provide Basic Term Life Insurance coverage during the military leave until such time as any legal obligation to restore the employee to employment expires.  The employee and dependents may continue enrollment in the supplemental life, dependent(s) or personal accident insurance by paying the monthly premium(s).

    Disability Insurance
    Eligibility for participation in the Short-Term and Long-Term Disability plans and the optional COLA coverage terminates at the beginning of any unpaid leave.

    Retirement Plan
    An employee’s service in the military must be counted in determining his/her vested interest and accrued benefits in the Retirement Plan only to the extent required to do so under the law. (USERRA Regulations, 20 CFR & 1002.259, 260, 261, 262)

    Courtesy Scholarship
    Courtesy Scholarship for dependents may continue during a military leave.


Related Links

Contact Information

Director, Employee Relations  Jeanne Thigpen  (404) 727-7644   persjdt@emory.edu  

Revision History