Human Resources Policies

HR19 Leave of Absence for Active Military Service or Training

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Jill Musser, 814-865-1473,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources





To outline provisions of leaves of absence with and without pay for short-term and long-term active military service, including military training, whether voluntary or otherwise. 

Note: The law provides similar provisions for those who have extended service in the Public Health Service. All sections except the PAID LEAVE section are applicable to such service.


Each regular University faculty or staff member who has completed one day of regular employment with the University immediately preceding the effective date of the requested military leave, and who has been ordered to report to active duty on a specific date, is eligible. Some nonregular employees may have re-employment rights upon completion of military service. Individual guidance from the Employee Relations Division should be sought in such instances.


The faculty or staff member shall give advance written or oral notice of the active service, unless such notice is precluded by military necessity. Such notice should include, when possible, a copy of the signed orders or authorization mandating the absence.


By law, all regular faculty and staff who are members of the Pennsylvania National Guard or any reserve component of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard shall be paid for up to fifteen workdays (120 hours) per calendar year while they are engaged in the active service of the United States, including field training.

Fifteen additional days (120 hours) of paid time off will be provided if an employee is called to active duty, other than active duty for training or full-time Active Guard Reserve duty, when ordered under 10 U.S.C.- 12301, 12302, 12304, or 32 U.S.C. - 502 (f), for a period of 30 or more consecutive days and assigned to duties away from home, under one or more of the following circumstances:

  • involuntarily, or
  • under Contingency Operation Temporary Tour of Active Duty (COTTAD), or
  • voluntarily to serve in a combat zone, as designated by an executive order from the president, or
  • in response to a domestic emergency.

By law, all regular faculty and staff who are members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are entitled to leaves of absence without loss of pay, time, or efficiency rating on all days during which they shall, as members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, be engaged in active State duty. 

During the period of time the employee remains on the University payroll, benefits coverages/deductions and retirement contributions continue.


Absence not covered by provisions contained in the PAID LEAVE section above shall be considered as an unpaid leave of absence, and a leave of absence without salary for active military service shall be granted. Such leave may not exceed an aggregate maximum of sixty calendar months, unless a longer absence is provided by exception by law.

Immediately prior to commencement of the leave, the employee may elect to use or not use all or part of accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, compensatory time off, as applicable, during the leave prior to commencement of no-pay status for the balance of the leave.

During an unpaid leave:

  1. Eligibility for educational privileges and dependent grant-in-aid continues.
  2. The employee shall have the option to continue any or all of the benefits listed below in which enrolled for self and/or eligible dependents by paying the employee cost of such coverages.

    Note: If an employee wishes to begin enrollment in an available program during the absence, then insurability provisions for such enrollment are applicable.


    Unpaid Leave Benefit Availability
    Benefit Availability for

    Availability for

    Life Insurance Optional Not Available
    Medical Optional Optional
    Dental Optional Optional
    Vision Optional Optional
    Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Optional Optional
    1. Coverage in medical, dental, or vision insurances shall not be applicable for an injury/illness determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to have incurred in, or aggravated during, performance of service in the uniformed services.
    2. The life insurance policy permits payment of the basic value, but contains a war exclusion for accidental death and dismemberment. The Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment program also excludes coverage for declared or undeclared war or any act thereof.
    3. Except for an injury/illness determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to have incurred in, or aggravated during, performance of service in the uniformed services, for employees electing not to continue coverages listed above, pre-existing condition or waiting period requirements for self and/or eligible dependents shall not be imposed upon return to active employment.
    4. A military leave of absence will not affect negatively the employee's ability to continue benefits into retirement in accordance with University policy.
  3. Employer retirement contributions will cease effective with the start of the leave without pay. If upon returning to work, an employee elects to make retirement contributions to cover the period of time absent under this policy, then employer contributions shall also be made to the extent required by law.
  4. The period of leave of absence without pay will be added to any length of service credit that a faculty or staff member may have otherwise.


If the leave is anticipated to be six months or more and it is necessary to replace the faculty or staff member, the appointment of the new person will be for a period not longer than the duration of the military absence of the original employee. However, during the period of employment, the new person will be considered a regular faculty or staff member and will have the privileges of such, except that he/she shall not be granted a military leave of absence. The new person must be informed in writing of the conditions of employment when employment begins.


Upon release from active military service under honorable conditions, a regular faculty or staff member may return to active service with the University, if he/she so desires. Insofar as it can be arranged, this return will be to the faculty or staff member's original position or to a position determined by the University to be an equivalent position.

To take advantage of this privilege, the faculty or staff member shall notify his/her immediate supervisor or dean or administrative officer of the return date in advance of the commencement of the leave, if such date is known. If the return date is not known in advance, then the request to return must be presented as soon as practicable, but in no case later than 14 days after the completion of the period of service for a leave of 31 through 180 days in length, or 90 days after the completion of the period of service for a leave longer than 180 days in length. Special conditions on time for requesting return to active employment apply for individuals hospitalized at time of release from military service. In this latter instance, contact the Employee Relations Division of the Office of Human Resources for guidance.

(To insure that timely consideration can be given with regard to returning the faculty or staff member to employment, it is helpful if the faculty or staff member can indicate his/her intention to return to active University employment prior to the expiration of the military leave of absence, or if not possible, within thirty calendar days after release from active duty.)


HR34 - Employment Conditions For Staff Employees

USERRA Handout


July 26, 2005 - Clarification of Return to Active University Service section.

Date Approved: 

June 1, 2011

Date Published: 

June 1, 2011

Effective Date: 

June 1, 2011