Military Leave Policy for Employees

All employers are required to give employees time off for military duty. Several federal and state laws mandate the rules for this leave. Whether you're an employer or an employee, learn more about these important laws.

Must employers grant active duty military leave?

Yes! Private and public employers must grant military leave.

Are all employees eligible for military leave?

The federal law for military leave covers all employees, including those who are newly hired or on probationary status.

What duties are eligible for military leave?

State and national emergencies, states of war or actual war are all examples of eligible military leave. Employees must also be granted leave for training and voluntary and involuntary service. These examples require long-term leave, but short-term leave is also mandated. It includes reserve and National Guard participation in training, drills, encampment, maneuvers, and other duties.

Must employers pay employees on leave?

Public employers must pay employees who are on military leave while private employers are not required to pay for the leave. During active duty military leave, employers may pay the difference between military and civilian pay.

Do employers have to pay benefits?

Employees on military leave receive the same benefits as employees on other types of leaves of absence.

Can employees use vacation time for military service?

Employers cannot require employees to take vacation time for their military duty. Employees can choose to use their vacation time, though, if they will not be paid for their leave.

Do employees need to give advance notice to their employers?

Generally, verbal or written advance notice is recommended. The exception is if the military calls an employee unexpectedly and makes advance notice impossible.

Do employers have to pay reservists for their active duty?

Private, nongovernmental employers are not required to pay reservists when they go on active duty. These employers can pay them the difference between their salary and military pay if they want to.

What happens to the employee's job during military leave?

Employers must give the same or a similar position to the employer after his or her military leave. If someone took over the job or duties, that person will need to be reassigned.

What is Military Family Leave?

Amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) require employers with over 50 employees to provide eligible family members at least 26 weeks of leave to care for family members in the service. The spouses, children and parents of eligible service members must receive 12 weeks of leave.

Military leave is mandated with federal laws. Understand the details whether you're a military service member or an employer.

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Further Reading
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