Winter 2005-06 Military leave compliance Its your duty
Military leave compliance: It’s your duty!
Knowledge of the labor laws that protect men and women called to active duty has become more important today in light of recent military conflicts.
It is illegal at both the state and federal level to harass an employee because of his or her military status, or to take such status into account when making work-related decisions that will positively or negatively affect an employee’s or prospective employee’s work status.
Employers are required by law to guarantee an employee’s right to a military leave of absence when the employee notifies, preferably in advance, of the need for such leave. Moreover, employers must ensure Cobra-like health coverage to men and women called to active duty and that would, otherwise, receive health benefits from work. Finally, if employees ask to be reinstated within a certain amount of time prior to their return, employers are required by law to place employees back in their original positions when they arrive from military duty.
While on duty, employees could cash-in accrued paid time off; once reinstated, they must receive all the benefits that they would have otherwise received had they been at work. It is illegal for employers to fire employees for up to one year after their return from military duty unless reasonable grounds are provided.
However, if employees’ reinstatement cause undue burden as a result of major changes in the place of employment during their military leave, employers may not be required to reinstate such employees. Work is not guaranteed either if there was no reasonable expectation of continued employment or if the employee is on military leave for more than five years. ◙
© 2005 Goldman Antonetti