Skip to Main Content

Policy Manual

Military Leave

Penn faculty and regular staff who may be called or volunteer to serve on active military duty, are eligible for up to 90 calendar days of military leave with pay per fiscal year.

The University grants up to five (5) cumulative years of time off without pay for faculty and regular staff members (including staff covered by collective bargaining agreements*) who are called to or volunteer for active military duty in accordance with Federal guidelines. The employee's University department is committed to returning the faculty or staff member to active University status in the same or comparable job profile, grade profile and compensation within the department at the end of the military leave, if the employee meets certain conditions as outlined in the University's Military Leave Policy.

*University staff members who are covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate contract article for leaves without pay.

611.1 PURPOSE OF POLICY

The Uniformed The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects job rights and benefits for veterans and members of the reserves. USERRA, and various state laws, apply to all employers doing business in this country regardless of size. The law protects all persons serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service commissioned corps, and the reserve components of these services and the National Guard.

611.2 TIME OFF WITH PAY FOR ANNUAL MILITARY RESERVE DUTY

A.  DESCRIPTION

All faculty and regular staff (hereinafter "Employee") who are members of the National Guard or a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard and Public Health Service Commission Corps, will be granted time off with pay for annual military reserve duty provided the duty is obligatory to maintain military status.

The maximum paid time allowed for annual reserve duty is 10 work days per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Any period of time spent on military reserve duty in excess of the maximum paid time allowed may be taken as paid time off (PTO) or a leave without pay.

B.  NOTICE

A request for time off for annual military reserve duty should be made to the Employee's immediate supervisor or department head at least two (2) weeks in advance of the duty. The request should include the dates of departure and return, and should be accompanied by a copy of the official orders, if possible. The Employee will be asked to provide a copy of official orders for leaves exceeding thirty (30) days in duration.

The Employee also enters the request for time off for annual military reserve duty into Workday (Time Off and Leave).  After the Employee submits the request into Workday, Workday automatically routes the request to the next approval level(s).

Contact Human Resources (215-898-7372) for questions about military reserve duty.

611.3 RECEIVING COMPENSATION FOR MILITARY RESERVE DUTY

During the 10 days of military reserve duty, if military pay is less than University pay, the University pays the difference for the maximum paid time allowed for annual reserve duty (10 work days).  Military pay consists of base pay, plus allowance for longevity, subsistence, quarters and dependents, plus pay for sea, flight, foreign, and hazardous duty.  Military pay does not include reimbursement for travel expense.

To receive pay from the University during the 10 days of military reserve duty, the Employee must furnish a certified statement of the military pay and allowances for the time off to his/her immediate supervisor.

After the annual maximum paid time of 10 days for reserve duty is exhausted, employees may choose to either use accrued but unused PTO during military reserve duty, or they may elect to take an unpaid leave of absence during the period of military reserve duty.

611.4 TIME OFF WITH PAY FOR ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY

A. DESCRIPTION

Leave will be granted for voluntary or involuntary service in the uniformed services, provided the cumulative length of the absence from work and all previous absences from work by reason of service in the uniformed services from the University does not exceed five (5) years, unless an additional period of service is required by the Federal or State government. The five-year cumulative total does not include inactive duty training (drills), annual training, involuntary recall or retention on voluntary or involuntary active duty in support of war, national emergency, or certain operational missions or training or retraining requirements.

Employees who are granted military leave for voluntary or involuntary active military duty or training in the uniformed services may receive up to 90 calendar days of paid leave per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), unless they have already exhausted the maximum 90 calendar days in that fiscal year.  After the maximum 90 calendar days of Penn's paid military leave is exhausted, the Employee may choose to either use paid time off (PTO) during the remainder of his/her military leave or elect to take an unpaid leave of absence.

B.  RECEIVING COMPENSATION FOR ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY

If the faculty or regular staff member's documented military pay is less than his/her University base pay, the Employee's home department will pay the difference for up to 90 calendar days while the Employee is engaged in military training and/or on active duty. If the Employee's military pay is more than or equal to his/her University base pay, the home department will not provide any differential pay.  Military pay consists of base pay, plus allowance for longevity, subsistence, quarters and dependents, plus pay for sea, flight, foreign and hazardous duty. Military pay does not include reimbursement for travel expenses.

C.  NOTICE

Unless precluded by military necessity or circumstances under which the giving of notice is otherwise impracticable or unreasonable, the Employee (or an appropriate officer of the uniformed service in which the Employee is to serve) must give as much advance written or oral notice as possible of the need for military leave.

The Employee also requests a leave of absence in Workday (Time Off and Leave), including the first day of leave, the estimated last day of leave and the leave type (military).  Once the staff member submits the request into Workday, Workday automatically routes the request to the manager and then to Human Resources for approvals.

D.  REEMPLOYMENT

The University is committed to reinstating returning Employees to active status in the same or comparable job profile, grade profile, and compensation at the end of the leave if they meet the following criteria:

1. The Employee had been employed in a regular staff position and would not have been subject to position discontinuation if employment had not been interrupted by military service;

2. The Employee gave notice to the University prior to leaving, unless precluded by military necessity or to do so would have been impracticable or impossible;

3. The cumulative period of active service did not exceed five (5) years, excluding certain services required by, among other things, a declared war or national emergency;

4. The Employee was not discharged from the military under other than honorable terms;

5. The Employee reported back to the civilian job in a timely manner.

a.     Application for reinstatement must be submitted not later than 90 days after completion of military duty. The deadline for reinstatement may be extended up to two (2) years for Employees who are disabled or convalescing due to an injury incurred or aggravated as a result of military duty; and

6. Circumstances have not so changed as to make such reemployment impossible or unreasonable and do not impose an undue hardship on the University.

The University may request that the Employee present a certificate of discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions.

E.  REPLACEMENT HIRE FOR EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE

The University may hire a replacement while an Employee is on military leave. The replacement is a term appointment and the offer letter from the hiring officer must clearly state the terms and conditions of employment and that the position will end upon the return of the Employee on leave.  The replacement worker may be eligible for benefits depending on the type and length of the assignment. However, in no case, will a replacement worker be eligible for benefits provided under the Position Discontinuation and Staff Transition (PDST) policy.  Upon return of the Employee from military leave, the replacement worker's employment with the University will cease.

Special arrangements for faculty members are handled by the Provost's Staff Conference.

611.5 BENEFITS

A. Time Accrual

During the paid military leave period (up to 90 calendar days), the Employee will continue to accrue paid time off (PTO) and sick leave in accordance with the relevant University policies.  During the leave without pay, there is no accrual of sick leave or paid time off (PTO).  Time while on leave without pay is counted as service credit in determining eligibility for benefits that are dependent upon length of service (for example, PTO accrual rate), assuming the Employee timely returns to employment within the required period of time following the end of military leave.

B. Health and Other Benefits

1. During the first ninety (90) days of military duty the Employee's medical, dental, and vision insurance will continue in effect on the same basis as an active employee.

Employees whose military duty continues after 90 calendar days of paid military leave may elect to continue employer-sponsored health care for up to 24 months, by paying the full cost.  The Employee's current medical, dental and vision coverage will automatically continue during the unpaid leave unless the individual contacts Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days of when the unpaid leave begins, to make any benefits changes.  The Employee will be billed directly on a monthly basis for the benefits continued during the unpaid leave.  Failure to pay will result in loss of benefits coverage.  You should check with appropriate military personnel to determine what medical benefits, if any, are available to you and your dependents while you are on active duty.  If an Employee does not choose continuation of coverage (i.e., waives coverage) during his/her unpaid leave of absence, benefits will be reinstated, effective the first of the month following his/her timely return to work.

2. Life Insurance  During the first ninety (90) days of military duty the Employee's basic life, supplemental life and dependent life insurance will continue in effect on the same basis as an active employee.

Employees whose military duty continues after 90 calendar days of paid military leave may elect to continue basic life insurance coverage for up to an 18 months, by paying the same rate as the University.  Supplemental life insurance and dependent life insurance may also be continued for 18 months by paying the same rates as active employees.  The Employee's current life and supplemental insurance coverage will automatically continue during the unpaid leave unless the individual contacts Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days of when the unpaid leave begins, to make any benefits changes.  The Employee will be billed directly on a monthly basis for the benefits continued during the unpaid leave.  Failure to pay will result in loss of benefits coverage.

Note that the University's Basic and Supplemental life insurance benefits policies cover death while serving in the military.

3. Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance is a supplemental part of the group life policy and is not continued or payable during military duty.

4. Pre-Tax Expense Accounts for Health Care and Dependent Care will be automatically discontinued as of the date that the unpaid leave begins.  Employees participating in the pre-tax accounts may continue to submit claims against balances accumulated in their accounts through the duration of the Plan year and/or relevant filing period.

5.  The Employee may continue to contribute on an after-tax basis to the Health Care Pre-Tax Expense Account at his/her current annual coverage level through the University’s third party administrator.  To continue contributing, the staff member must contact Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days of when unpaid leave begins.

Employees participating in the health care pre-tax expense account who are on military leave for a period of more than 179 days (or an indefinite period) may be entitled to a distribution of some or all of the remaining amounts in their account. If the amounts distributed are not used for health care expenses, however, they are considered taxable income. Requests for distributions from health care pre-tax expense accounts must be submitted in writing Human Resources before September 30 of the Plan year following the Plan year in which the leave begins. (For these purposes, the Plan year runs from July 1 through June 30.)

6. Tuition benefits for Employees and/or eligible dependents will be continued during the military leave.

7. Long-Term Disability (LTD) coverage continues for Employees for up to twelve (12) months of paid or unpaid military leave.

C. Retirement Benefits

1. For employees participating in the Retirement Allowance Plan (RAP), time spent on leave without pay counts toward the plan's eligibility service, vesting service and benefit accrual, assuming the Employee returns to employment within the required period of time following the end of the military leave, as described above. Upon timely reemployment, the Employee will be treated as if he or she had been actively employed during the military leave for pension accrual purposes.

2. Employees participating in the University's Basic and Matching Plans may make up for missed contributions from the leave period upon return to work. Employees should contact Human Resources at 215-866-799-2329 within 30 calendar days of their return to work for information on this process. University Basic Plan contributions will automatically be made to the Employee's plan account following his/her timely return to employment and timely notification Human Resources, but University Matching Plan contributions will not be made to the Employee's plan account until the Employee makes up his/her contributions as described in the next paragraph.

Missed Employee contributions must be made after reemployment and before the earlier of: 1) five years, or 2) three times the length of the period of military service. Certain contribution limits may apply. The missed contributions can be made on a pre-tax or after-tax basis. The requirements for making missed contributions are in accordance with controlling law.  Employees will be advised of their rights and obligations upon their reemployment.

Employees who are on military leave for longer than 30 days and have outstanding retirement plan loans from the Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) Plan, if permitted under the applicable plan, may request a suspension of loan payments while on military leave. If the loan payments are suspended, interest on the unpaid loan balance would continue to accrue at a rate of not more than 6% during the length of the military leave (assuming the employee provides to Human Resources written notice of his or her military leave, along with a copy of his or her military orders, within 180 days of termination or release from military service). Upon the Employee's return from active duty, the interest rate will revert back to the original rate and the Employee must resume loan payments to the Plan.  The amount of the loan payments will be recalculated to include the interest that accrued during the military leave. The period for paying off the outstanding balance of the loan (plus the accrued interest) will be extended by the period of the Employee's military leave. To request a suspension of payments or to get more information regarding loan repayments, Employees should contact Human Resources at 877-736-6738.

611.6 OTHER

Many issues may arise concerning your rights during military leave. This policy does not, and cannot, address all such issues. If issues arise that are not addressed in this policy, the University will abide by USERRA and any controlling State laws. Should you have any questions or require further information, please consult Human Resources at 215-898-7372.

611.6 UNIVERSITY STAFF WHO ARE COVERED BY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

University staff members who are covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate contract article.




Policy Number: 611
Effective Date: 03/30/2012
Revised Date:  06/01/2019
Last Reviewed Date: 07/01/2019
Supersedes Policy Number(s): 611 (02/01/1990, 06/01/1998, 07/01/2000, 09/24/2001, 02/01/2002, 01/27/2003, 02/25/2003, 01/14/2004, 11/19/2004, 02/16/2006, 02/08/2007, 02/27/2010, 02/21/2011, 03/05/2012), 617 (02/01/1990)
Applicability: Faculty & Regular Staff Members
Cross-reference: Policy 101Policy 114Policy 602Policy 603Policy 607Policy 616Policy 623Policy 628