For Penn faculty and staff who may be called or volunteer to serve on active military duty, the Temporary Enhancement of Military Pay and Benefits program, extending military pay and certain benefit coverage from 10 workdays per fiscal year to a maximum of 90 calendar days per fiscal year, has been incorporated into the Military Leave Policy effective 3/01/2012.
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 position, pay grade and salary 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. For more information on how to track and manage time away from work, click here.
*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 MILITARY RESERVE DUTY
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 duty provided the duty is obligatory to maintain military status.
The maximum paid time allowed for annual duty is ten (10) work days per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Any period of time spent on military duty in excess of the maximum paid time allowed may be taken as Paid Time Off (PTO) or a leave without pay.
A request for time off for annual military 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.
611.3 RECEIVING COMPENSATION FOR ANNUAL MILITARY RESERVE DUTY
During the ten (10) day military pay period, if military pay is less than University pay, the University pays the difference for the maximum paid time allowed for annual duty (ten (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 ten (10) military pay period, the Employee must furnish a certified statement of the military pay and allowances for the time off.
After the annual maximum paid time for duty of ten (10) days is exhausted, employees may choose to either use accrued but unused PTO during military leave, or they may elect to take an unpaid leave of absence during the period of military leave.
611.4 TIME OFF WITHOUT PAY FOR ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY
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.
For all eligible faculty and staff members who commence leave for active military duty or training, the University has extended the military leave from 10 workdays per fiscal year to a maximum of 90 calendar days. If the faculty or 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. After the maximum 90 calendar days of Penn military pay is exhausted, the employee may choose to either use Paid Time Off (vacation) during military leave or elect to take an unpaid leave of absence.
During the paid military leave period (up to 90 calendar days), the faculty or staff member's medical, dental, vision, basic group life, supplemental group life and dependent life insurance will continue in effect on the same basis as an active employee. The accidental death and dismemberment insurance will not be continued or payable during military duty. Employees who continue military duty after the paid military leave period (up to 90 calendar days) may elect to continue their University medical, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits. Employees should contact the Penn Benefits Center (1-888-736-6236) prior to departure regarding benefits continuation.
During the paid military leave period, the employee will continue to accrue Paid Time Off (vacation) and sick days in accordance with the relevant University policies. Other benefits will remain the same, in accordance with the University's Military Leave Policy and Federal and State guidelines.
Employees who are granted military leave for voluntary or involuntary service in the uniformed services may receive up to ninety (90) calendar days of paid leave as described above, unless they have already exhausted the maximum ninety (90) calendar days in that fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). An Employee may receive no more than ninety (90) calendar days total paid leave for any one period of military leave. Employees will receive time off without pay for the remainder of the military leave.
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 University is committed to reinstating returning Employees to active status in the same or comparable position, pay grade, and salary 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.
D. 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 term of the appointment. 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 policy. The offer letter must clearly state the terms and conditions of employment and that the position will end upon the return of the Employee on leave. 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.
A. Time Accrual
1. During the leave without pay, there is no accrual of sick days or paid time off days. Military time will be counted toward any benefit where length of service is considered in the calculation of time off benefits, assuming the Employee returns to employment within the required period of time following the end of military leave, as described above.
2. Time while on military leave is counted as service in determining eligibility for those benefits that are dependent upon length of service, again, assuming the Employee timely returns to employment following the end of military leave.
B. Health and Other Benefits:
1. The University provides you with limited health coverage during your military leave. Medical, dental and vision insurance shall continue in effect for the first ninety (90) days of military duty on the same basis as an active Employee. Those on duty for ninety-one (91) or more days may elect to continue employer-sponsored health care for up to 24 months in accordance with controlling law. The University may require Employees electing coverage to pay the full cost to the University. For health plans, this would be the COBRA rate without the two (2) percent administrative charge. 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.
Unless circumstances do not permit, the Employee must contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-736-6236 to arrange for payment of benefits if he/she wishes to continue participation in the University medical, dental, and vision benefits after the first ninety (90) days of military duty. If an Employee elects to continue participation in these benefits, he/she will be billed directly for the benefits. If an Employee does not choose continuation of coverage, benefits will be reinstated, with no waiting period, immediately upon a timely return to work.
2. Life insurance is continued on the same basis as for active employees for the first ninety (90) days of military duty. Basic group life insurance coverage may be continued for eighteen (18) months by paying the same rate paid by the University. Supplemental group life insurance and dependent life insurance, which are employee-pay-all programs, may also be continued for eighteen (18) months by paying the same rates as active employees. Unless circumstances do not permit, the Employee must contact the Penn Benefits Center at the number above to arrange for payment of these benefits if he/she wishes to continue participation in the University life insurance benefits. Note that the policy covers 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. 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. 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 to the Benefits Office 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 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, 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 Tax-Deferred Retirement (TDR) Plan may make up for missed contributions from the leave period upon return to work. Employees should contact the Division of Human Resources Benefits Office at 215-898-3539 within 30 calendar days of their return to work for information on this process. University basic contributions will automatically be made to the Employee's plan account following his or her timely return to employment and timely notification to the Division of Human Resources Benefits Office, but University matching 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 post-tax basis. The requirements for making missed contributions are in accordance with controlling law. You will be advised of your rights and obligations upon your 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 the Division of Human Resources Benefits Office 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, but 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 the Benefits Office at (215) 898-3539.
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 the Division of Human Resources/Staff and Labor Relations at 215-898-6093.
611.6 UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE COVERED BY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS
University Employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate provisions of their labor agreement for details regarding unpaid leaves, insofar as the provisions of the labor agreement are consistent with applicable law. To the extent that applicable law requires more generous protections and benefits with respect to unpaid leaves, the applicable law controls.
Policy Number: 611
Effective Date: 3/30/2012
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 101, Policy 114, Policy 602, Policy 603, Policy 607, Policy 616, Policy 623, Policy 628