Employees called to Active Military Duty Rights and Responsibilities.
Any regular employee of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) who is called to active duty with the Armed Forces will be supported by this institution through the application of the military leave policy. (Handbook of Operating Procedures policy 41).
This policy complies with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA). The following is a summary of the rights and responsibilities under the policy:
Definition of Military Leave: A military leave of absence is granted to any employee called to active duty. The maximum time for which an employee may receive pay for this leave is 15 working days in a federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). If an employee’s active duty extends beyond the 15-day period, the employee will be placed on an unpaid, extended military leave.
Responsibility of Reservists: Reservists called to active duty should present to their supervisors copies of their military orders as soon as they are available, unless giving notice is precluded by military necessity or otherwise impossible or unreasonable.
Payment During Military Leave: The reservist is paid for the first 15 working days of leave for the fiscal year. At the end of the first 15 working days, the reservist is placed on an unpaid leave of absence. Differential pay will be provided to those employees who are called to active duty, if military gross pay is less than state gross pay. The combination of the differential and military pay cannot exceed the employee's annual state gross pay. Military gross 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.
Seniority, Benefit, and Retirement Rights of Reservists: At the employee’s choice, the employee may choose to use vacation and/or other paid leave. Vacation and sick leave will accrue for the duration of the leave and will be credited to the employee’s balance when the employee returns to active employment with the university. Upon the employee’s return to employment longevity pay accrual rates as well as seniority will be based upon the effective date of employment and will include time spent in the armed forces for military duty.
Contributions to the employee’s retirement plan cease with the unpaid leave of absence. Employees returning to UTHealth may choose to buy back their retirement service.
An employee may continue insurance benefits while on unpaid leave. However, the employee is responsible for remitting to Benefits the full premium (employee and state portion) to keep insurances in force for any full calendar month that the employee is in an unpaid leave status.
A Benefits representative (713-500-3935) can assist employees with questions about retirement service buybacks and maintenance of insurance coverages.
As outlined by USERRA, applicable time limits are as follows:
For employees with a service-connected injury or illness who are hospitalized or convalescing, reporting or application deadlines are extended for up to two years.
Please contact Human Resources at 713-500-3180 if you have questions regarding these policies.