A recent ruling by the Federal Appellate Court in Pennsylvania may indicate employers who offer employees paid leave programs may need to include paid leave for employees on leave performing military service covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA).
The court determined that a leave of absence for performing military service is no different than other types of leave, so employers must provide the same rights and benefits, consistently, for all leave situations. This includes paid time such as sick leave, jury duty or bereavement leave. By offering paid leave benefits to employees in other leave situations but excluding military leave, the court determined service members are treated less favorably, which is a violation of USERRA. Although the court clarified its position of only interpreting the law and not creating a class of benefits, this ruling may change the administration of benefits for service members.
While this continues to be an evolving area of law, employers may want to review their current leave policies and consider how paid short-term leave benefits offered for other reasons compare to their military leave benefits. For more information or to answer any questions, contact MRA’s 24/7 Hotline at 866-HR-HOTLINE (866.474.6854) or [email protected].