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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Military Leave

Policy Number: 41

Subject:

Eligibility for and use of military leave

Scope:

Eligible employees

Date Reviewed:
January 2021
Responsible Office:
Human Resources and Employee Benefits
Responsible Executive:
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer; Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Services and Chief Financial Officer

I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) will grant military leave to any employee who meets the following criteria:

  • An employee who is a member of the Texas military forces, a reserve component of the armed forces, or a member of a state or federally authorized urban search and rescue team who is engaged in authorized training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority (“Regular Military Leave”);
  • An employee who is a member of the Texas military forces who is called to state active duty by the governor or other appropriate authority in response to a natural or man-made disaster or called to federal active duty for the purpose of providing assistance to civil authorities in a declared emergency or for training for that purpose (“State Emergency Leave”); and
  • An employee called to active duty during a national emergency to serve in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States under Title 10 or 32, United States Code (“National Emergency Leave”).

II. DEFINITIONS

Armed Forces of the United States: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, and any other category of persons designated by the President of the United States in time of war or emergency.

Texas Military Forces:  Texas National Guard, Texas State Guard, and any other active militia or military force organized under state law.

III. PROCEDURE

A. Applying for Military Leave

An employee who is requesting military leave should notify his or her immediate supervisor as soon as he or she receives notice of impending military duty. Unless giving notice is precluded by military necessity or is otherwise impossible or unreasonable, a copy of the employee's military orders should be submitted to the employee's supervisor as proof of authorization for the leave as soon as it is available.  The copy of the military orders should be retained in the employee's departmental personnel file.  During any paid or unpaid military leave, an employee is not permitted to perform his or her university duties.

B. Work Schedule Adjustment

The university shall adjust the work schedule of any employee who is a member of the Texas National Guard or the United States Armed Forces Reserve so that two of the employee’s days off work each month coincide with two days of military duty to be performed by the employee.

C. Paid Military Leave

     1.   Regular Military Leave

Employees who are members of the Texas Military Forces, a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, or an authorized urban search and rescue team and are called to active duty or authorized training will receive a paid leave of absence on a day on which the person is engaged in authorized training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority up to 15 working days in a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). During a leave of absence, the person may not be subjected to loss of time, efficiency rating, personal time, sick leave, or vacation time. The 15 days of paid leave need not be consecutive.  See Section III.E for differential pay eligibility after exhaustion of paid leave.

Employees who are eligible for the 15-day paid military leave may carry forward unused Regular Military leave up to a maximum of 45 days from federal fiscal year to federal fiscal year.

Upon request, an employee will be provided with a statement that contains: (1) the number of work days for which the employee claimed paid Regular Military Leave in the current federal fiscal year; and (2) the net balance of all unused accumulated military leave and the balance of such leave that the employee is entitled to carry forward.

     2.   State Emergency Leave

Employees called by the Governor of Texas to state active duty as a member of the Texas Military Forces in response to a natural or manmade emergency are entitled to paid emergency leave for the full duration of the required duty without loss of Regular Military Leave or other annual leave. This State Emergency Leave does not count against the 15-day allotment of annual paid Regular Military Leave.

    3. National Emergency Leave

Employees called to federal active duty to assist civil authorities in a declared emergency or for training specifically related thereto, will receive a paid leave of absence of up to 22 working days in a federal fiscal year.  This National Emergency Leave does not count against the 15-day allotment of annual paid Regular Military Leave. See Section III.E for differential pay eligibility after exhaustion of paid leave.

     4. Personal Leave

An eligible employee may choose to use any accrued vacation leave, compensatory time, or overtime leave to maintain pay and benefits for the employee or the employee’s dependents while the employee is on military duty. See Section III.E for differential pay eligibility after exhaustion of paid leave.

D. Unpaid Military Leave

Any military leave that is not expressly identified as paid leave above, including any leave beyond the 15-day period for Regular Military Leave and the 22-day period for National Emergency Leave, shall be unpaid leave. 

E. Differential Pay and Leave Accruals for National Emergencies

     1. Eligibility

Employees called to active duty in support of a national emergency to serve in a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States under U.S. Code Title 10 or Title 32 are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence with differential pay and accrual of certain benefits, as set forth below, only if the employee: (1) is employed to work at least 20 hours per week for a period of at least four and one-half months; and (2) is not employed in a position for which the employee is required to be a student as a condition of the employment.  Employees involved in routine military training or who are attending military schools are not entitled to differential pay and accrual of benefits.

     2. Differential Pay

An eligible employee shall receive differential pay if the employee’s military pay is less than the employee’s state gross pay.  The combination of differential and military pay may not exceed the employee's actual state gross pay. “Military pay” for purposes of calculating the pay differential does not include money the employee receives for service in a combat zone, as hardship pay, or for being separated from the employee’s family. An employee whose military pay is less than his/her state gross pay will receive differential payment through the payroll process. Departments are responsible for submitting a transaction to Payroll using the Extended Military Pay form.  Submission of the employee’s military Leave and Earnings Statement will be required for the calculation of differential pay, which will be in accordance with the Military Pay Differential Guide issued by the Texas State Auditor’s Office.

     3. Leave Accrual

An eligible employee shall continue to accrue state service credit for longevity pay, vacation leave, and sick leave for the duration of the leave, and such accruals will be credited to the employee's balance when the employee returns to active employment with the university.

F. Employment Reinstatement

No employee who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States, or state military forces will be denied retention in employment or promotions or other incidents or advantages of employment because of any obligation as a member of these units.

An employee who returns from military service may be reinstated to the same position or to a position of similar seniority, status and pay as the former position, in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act (USERRA) or Texas state law.

To be entitled to reinstatement under this section, an employee must be:

  • discharged, separated or released from active military service under honorable conditions generally not later than the fifth anniversary of the date of induction, enlistment or call to active military services; and
  • physically and mentally qualified to perform the duties of his/her position at the university.

There are certain exceptions under USERRA that may extend the five-year reinstatement period, such as initial enlistments lasting more than five years and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls. Employees are urged to contact their supervisors and Human Resources as soon as possible to advise them of their desire to return to work.

Applicable time limits are as follows.

  • Employees should apply for reemployment to their supervisors and Human Resources in writing no later than 90 days after completing their service.
  • Regardless of time of military service, these reporting or application deadlines are extended for up to two years for employees who are hospitalized for, or convalescing from, an injury or illness incurred in or aggravated during uniformed military service.

If, owing to a disability sustained during military service, an employee is unable to perform his or her former duties but able to perform the duties of a position of like or nearest possible seniority, status and pay, the employee will be reinstated to that similar position.

G. Benefits 

Before the effective date of unpaid military leave, the employee must contact the Benefits department to arrange to continue his or her group insurance programs, including what the employee needs to do to maintain state health insurance coverage, how health insurance coverage is affected by paid or unpaid leave, and how to pay any premium required for the insurance coverage. Otherwise, this insurance coverage may be cancelled. Benefits representatives will provide further information to employees on insurance and retirement coverage during unpaid military leaves of absence.

IV. CONTACTS

    • Human Resources
    • 713-500-3130
    • https://www.uth.edu/hr/department/employee-relations/