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During leave
  • While an employee is on military leave, employers need to realize their obligations
  • Employers also benefit from knowing what their obligations do not include.

Employees who are absent from work to serve in the military retain certain employment rights. Some companies provide greater benefits than what is required.

Employers who would like to provide greater benefits or simply learn more about such activities may turn to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) (www.esgr.mil), which is a Department of Defense program. It was established to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve members and civilian employers, and to help resolve conflicts that may occur from an employee’s military commitment.

While employees are performing military service, they are entitled to the non-seniority rights accorded other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.

Employers may hire workers to replace absent service members, but must reemploy returning service members. To be prepared for this circumstance, it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in place that contains the following information:

  • Whether replacements should be hired;
  • How replacements are hired on short notice (for example, through a temporary employment agency); and
  • The status of the replacement workers after the service member returns.

Hiring through a temporary employment agency may be advantageous, as the replacement workers hired through the agency would technically be employees of the temp agency.