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  • If requested, an employer is required to allow employees on military leave to use vacation or other paid time off, but must not force employees to do so.

Employers may not force an employee to use vacation or other paid time off while on military leave. The employee, however, may ask to use vacation, or other paid leave, and it must be allowed.

Employees may, for example, want to use accumulated vacation to receive health insurance benefits during the vacation period, since they would technically be continuously employed.

Employers should review any related vacation policy, especially if it has a “use it or lose it” provision. Employers may want to change the policy if the review indicates that there is potential for the “use it or lose it” provision to penalize employees who are absent under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). If, for example, an employee is away on military duty, the employee would not be able to use accrued vacation and could lose it under the provision.