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4.15 Extended Military Leave of Absence

Origination date: 04/01/2018

Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, and Service Professionals

Purpose

To provide time away from work for employees on active military duty in accordance with federal and Arizona laws.  Should any part of this policy conflict with current federal or state regulations, the university will comply with the federal and/or state regulations.

Eligibility

Regular employees or employees who meet the eligibility requirements under USERRA and who enter into active duty for extended periods with any component of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Fraudulent use of this benefit may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Qualifying Reasons

An Extended Military Leave of Absence may be requested by an employee who voluntarily or involuntarily enters uniformed service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States.  The purpose of duty may include training duty or to attend camps, maneuvers, formations, or drills under order with any branch, reserve, or auxiliary of the federal or state armed services.

Duration

An employee who voluntarily or involuntarily enters uniformed service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States will be placed on an Extended Military Leave of Absence for a period not to exceed five years. 

Pay Status

Extended Military Leave of Absence is unpaid with the following exceptions:

Employees are required to report all time away from work following Human Resources Department procedures. 

Employee Responsibilities

Requests for Extended Military Leave of Absence must be submitted following Human Resources Department procedures and made as far in advance as is reasonable under the circumstances.

An employee on a paid Extended Military Leave of Absence must provide proof that they provided honorable service during the period of leave of absence within sixty days after completion of active duty. Northern Arizona University may seek recovery of the pay differential from an employee who fails to provide proof of honorable service.

Employees who have requested an Extended Military Leave of Absence must provide Human Resources and their department up to date contact information (e-mail, phone and home address) for the duration of their leave of absence. 

It is the employee’s responsibility to notify Human Resources and their supervisor of the intent to return to work following the schedule as set forth under the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

If an employee does not return to work on the expected return date, any additional time away may be considered an unauthorized absence.

Effect on Benefits

Voluntary Benefits: The university will continue to pay the employer’s portion of voluntary benefits premiums including medical and dental insurances for the duration of the Extended Military Leave of Absence when the employee is in a paid status and for a period not to exceed 6 months when in an unpaid status.  For the remainder of any unpaid Extended Military Leave of Absence, the employee will be responsible for both the employer and employee portions of benefits.  While in a paid status, premiums will continue to be collected through payroll deductions.  If the employee is in an unpaid status, premiums will be collected through personal payments.  However, if the employee’s portion of the premium payment is more than 30 days late, the university may discontinue coverage.

Leave Accruals: Vacation and sick hours will accrue while an employee is on a paid status.

Retirement: No refund of any retirement contribution is made upon the commencement of the leave, since the return of the employee is anticipated. Service credits do not accrue during any period of unpaid leave, but will commence upon the employee's return to work.

Other Benefits: The educational aid benefit remains in effect for employees during the leave period as does the use of university facilities.

Continuous Service: Computation of service dates for continuous service, vacation accrual rates, seniority, and general pay adjustments will include this leave as creditable service providing the employee returns to work on the first workday following the termination of the authorized leave.

Return to Work

The granting of an Extended Military Leave of Absence will be followed by the employee’s return to their former or essentially equal position so long as the employee is discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions and makes notification of return to work according to the following schedule:

The practical effect of this is that the department head should hold the employee's regular position until the employee's return from Extended Military Leave of Absence.  However, the department head can hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the leave. 

An employee who is unable to return to the full duties and schedule of their position upon expiration of the maximum leave of absence time allowed by university policy is not guaranteed continued employment.

Employees with disabilities are encouraged to consult with the Disability Resources Office regarding possible reasonable accommodation which may provide additional leave options and/or assist them to return to work.

If the university has reason to question the capacity of an employee to perform duties and responsibilities, the university may choose to require the employee to be examined by a physician of the university’s choosing for a “fitness for duty” examination.

Failure to Return or Accept Employment

An employee will be considered to have voluntarily terminated employment if they: