Q: Under what circumstances might an employee be able to take military leave?
A: The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) allows covered service members to take up to five years of job-protected leave to enlist and for military training, service, and events. This leave is unpaid unless the employee elects to use paid time off or state law requires a portion of the leave to be paid. Leave must be provided for not only required military service, but also for volunteer service the employee elects to perform. Employers must provide military leave even where the leave creates a hardship on the business.
States may pass laws that are more beneficial for service personnel. These laws generally require employers to pay a portion of the employee’s time spent in service since the federal law does not.