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HR Operations

Military duty leave

All employees who are members of, or who are in the process of enlisting for, any of the United States uniformed services are eligible for military duty leave.

The University follows the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Washington state law, which offer certain rights to employees in the uniformed services.

U.S. uniformed services include:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marine Corps
  • Coast Guard
  • Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • Army or Air National Guard
  • Any reserve components of the services listed above

Leave may be taken for military requirements such as:

  • Active duty
  • Training and drills
  • Physical examination
  • Funeral honors duty

You will not be denied employment, reemployment, promotion, or other benefits of employment because of your membership — or application for membership — in any of the U.S. uniformed services.

Notification for leave

You must give your supervisor advance notice before leaving for military duty. Complete the Military Duty Leave of Absence Request (MS Word) form and submit it to your supervisor along with a copy of your military orders.

Use the Military Activation and Return-to-Duty Checklist (MS Word) to help you plan for your leave.

Pay

The University will pay up to 21 workdays per year for military leave to employees who work at the UW an average of 20 hour or more per workweek. The year runs October 1 to September 30 (the federal fiscal year).

Beyond the paid 21 days, military duty leave is unpaid for the rest of your time in active duty, up to five years. However, you may use any accrued paid leave that you have available.

Shared leave

If you are called to service and have used, or are about to use, all of your accrued annual and paid military leave, you may be eligible to receive leave donations from other employees through the Shared Leave Program.

You may also be eligible to request shared leave from the Uniformed Services Shared Leave Pool maintained by the Washington Military Department.

Benefits continuation

You must remain in pay status at least eight hours per month in order for the University to continue paying its employer portion of your health insurance. To meet this requirement, you may space out — or “intersperse” — your accrued paid leave or compensatory time in eight-hour increments across the months of your active duty.

The following types of paid leave may be interspersed:

  • Paid military leave
  • Annual leave
  • Compensatory time
  • Personal holiday
  • Shared leave

If you do not remain in pay status for at least eight hours in a month, you will need to self-pay for that month (in other words, pay both your and the University’s portion) to keep your health insurance coverage active.

For more information on benefits continuation, contact the Benefits office.

Return to work

When you return from military duty leave, you are eligible to receive all the rights and benefits that you would have received if you had never taken leave (such as pay increases, seniority, and annual leave accrual rate).

Additionally, time spent on military duty leave is considered time worked for determining FMLA eligibility and completion of a probationary or trial service period.

Notification

Prior to returning to work, you will need to notify your supervisor of your intent to return and provide a copy of your discharge documentation. The documentation should include:

  • Date of discharge
  • Duration of military service
  • Proof of satisfactory service

The length of your military leave determines your return-to-work notice requirement.

If your leave lasted: You must:
Less than 31 days Report to work the first scheduled work period on the first full calendar day following completion of service plus eight hours
31 to 180 days Request reinstatement within 14 calendar days of completion of service
More than180 days Request reinstatement no later than 90 days following completion of service

If you do not return to work within five years, the University will assume that you have resigned from UW employment. However, your return-to-work deadline is extended for up to two years if you are hospitalized or convalescing due to a service-connected injury or illness.

Benefits

To reinstate any benefits not maintained while on active duty, contact the Benefits office.

Annual leave accrual

You will continue to accrue annual leave hours each month as long as you have not taken 10 or more days of unpaid leave that month.

Additionally, when you return to work, your annual leave accrual rate will be adjusted as though you had been in UW pay status continuously during your military leave — even if your leave was unpaid.

Salary Increments (classified only)

When you return to UW work, you will be placed at the salary step that you would have reached had you not taken military duty leave.

Seniority (classified only)

Your time on military duty leave — paid or unpaid — is included in seniority calculations.

Spouses and other family members

If you are a family member of a uniformed service member, you may be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if that service member is deployed.

Supervisor responsibilities

Follow your department’s usual leave approval procedure. However, prior to denying a military duty leave request, you must consult with your leave specialist to be sure the denial follows the law and University policy.

Additional resources