Military Leave of Absence
Policy Number: 2.14.10
Current Effective Date: 05/17/2021
Original Effective Date: 06/22/1998
Revision Dates: 04/23/2004, 12/07/2004, 01/04/2007, 5/17/2021
Revision Number: 4
Responsible Official: Vice President, Administrative Services
Employees who serve in U.S. military organizations or National Guard shall take the necessary military leave time with or without pay (as applicable) to fulfill this obligation, in accordance with institutional policies and procedures, state statutes and regulations, and the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). In addition, these employees shall retain all of their legal rights for continued employment under USERRA following military leave taken during the course of their employment at KCTCS. For purposes of this policy, uniformed service and military service are considered the same and the terms are used interchangeably. USERRA provides that returning service members who have been on military leave are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.
Volunteers, draftees, and reservists are covered under USERRA during and following a period of service that occurs during the course of their employment at KCTCS. Uniformed services include the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, and commissioned public health service employees, such as the Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Types of activities covered as military leave include, but are not limited to, active duty for training, drills, inactive training, full-time National Guard duty, and physical examinations to determine the fitness of the individual to perform such duties.
Eligibility to Receive Pay and Benefits During Military Leave
Military leave for uniformed services annual training shall be granted to regular employees who are members of the uniformed services. During such leaves the following conditions shall apply:
- An employee will receive pay for the difference between KCTCS pay and military pay
as shown in the chart below. An employee may choose to use accrued vacation time during
the salary adjustment period or the no salary adjustment period in each federal fiscal
year (October 1 to September 30).
Type of Leave Salary Adjustment No Salary Adjustment Active Duty for Training 15 working days Working day 16 to end of duty Active Duty for Emergency First 30 working days (does not include days for active training duty) Working day 31 to end of duty Active Duty for Extended Period First 30 working days (does not include days for active duty training) Working day 31 to end of duty
- Employees who continue to be on military leave when a new federal fiscal year begins (on October 1) shall be entitled to receive up to 15working days of paid military leave at that time, even if they were in an unpaid status prior to the start of the new fiscal year.
- Regular full-time and part-time employees who work at least 50 percent of a full-time schedule on an annualized basis shall continue to accrue vacation and temporary disability leave during a paid military leave of absence but not during an unpaid military leave of absence.
- Benefits shall remain in effect during paid military leave. Employees who take military leave without pay have the option to continue some of their benefit coverage during the military leave. If they elect to continue their benefit coverage, employees shall make arrangements for their payment of insurance premiums and retirement contributions, as appropriate. The time frame in which eligible employees may continue their KCTCS health plan coverage for themselves and their covered dependents is for 24 months after the military leave begins. The extended continuation period for health insurance coverage shall be effective for all continuation elections made on or after December 10, 2004.
- Time spent on military leave shall count toward service time credit for an adjusted service date for the purposes of determining the accrual rate for staff vacation leave as well as time toward meeting the required service credit for retirement. In addition, employees on military leave are eligible for annual salary increases in accordance with USERRA, which states that returning service members are reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service (the long-standing "escalator" principle), equal service credit time and the same status, pay, and other rights and benefits determined by service credit time.
- Retirement Contributions
- As long as employees remain in a paid leave status during military leave, their employee retirement contributions shall continue along with the KCTCS matching contributions.
- Once employees go into an unpaid leave status during military leave, they may continue making employee contributions to their retirement plan on an after-tax basis during the unpaid leave. In order to do so, employees shall make arrangements for making their direct payment of these after-tax retirement contributions to their retirement carrier(s). KCTCS shall not match these after-tax employee contributions made during the unpaid leave.
- Upon employees’ return to employment with KCTCS following military leave, they shall be eligible to make up contributions to the retirement plan over a period equal to three (3) times the period of Uniformed Services Leave but no longer than five (5) years. KCTCS shall make, on behalf of returning service members, any contributions to the retirement plan that the KCTCS would have made if they had not been absent for Uniformed Services Leave. These “make-up” contributions by KCTCS shall double match the employee contributions, up to a maximum of ten percent (10%). These “make-up” contributions shall not include the payment of any interest for the missed investment period.
Reemployment Following Military Leave
Full-time employees who take military leave to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces shall be eligible for re-employment after completing military service in accordance with USERRA, which requires the following conditions are met:
- The employee shall provide the employer with advance notice of uniformed service obligations, where reasonable. The employee shall show military orders to the supervisor as soon as practicable within seven days after the employee receives them.
- The employee shall satisfactorily complete active duty service.
- The employee shall enter the Uniformed Service directly from employment with KCTCS.
The employee shall either report to or submit an application for reemployment to the employer after the military service within the following time frames:
- If length of military service is less than 31 days, the employee shall return to work by the beginning of the first regularly scheduled work period after the end of the calendar day of duty plus travel time to return home safely and an eight hour rest period.
- If length of military service is 31 to 180 days, the employee shall make application for reemployment no later than 14 days after completion of uniformed service.
- If length of military service is greater than 180 days, the employee shall make application for reemployment no later than 90 days after completion of uniformed service.
The position into which an employee is reinstated following a Uniformed Services leave of absence is determined by priority based on the length of military service, except with respect to those employees who suffered a disability as a result of military service or whose disability was aggravated by such service. The priorities are as follows:
- Service of 1-90 days: The employee shall be placed in the position that would have been held had the employment not been interrupted by uniformed services participation, including promotion, as long as the person is qualified to perform the duties. If the employee is not qualified to perform the duties of such position, and/or only after reasonable efforts by KCTCS to qualify the employee for such position, the employee shall resume the position held on the date of commencement of the uniformed services tour of duty.
- Service of 91 or more days: This is the same as Service of 1-90 days or a position of like seniority, status, and pay as long as the employee is qualified for the position. If the employee cannot become qualified, he/she shall be placed in the position held on the date of the commencement of the uniformed services tour of duty or a position of like seniority, status, and pay.
In addition, provisions regarding military leave shall be adhered to in accordance with all other applicable KCTCS policies and human resources procedure(s) regarding leaves of absences, pay, and employment.