A U.S. appeals court recently ruled in a case involving Federal Express Corp that workers who take military leave must be paid for that time if their employers offer other forms of paid leave.
The class action was brought by FedEx employee and Navy reservist Gerard Travers. He stated that the company paid workers who took leave for jury duty, bereavement, and health reasons, but denied employees paid leave when they were fulfilling military duties.
According to the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals, employees who take military leave from their jobs must receive the same “rights and benefits” provided to employees who are granted a leave of absence for other reasons. So while military leave is unpaid by default, that changes when the employer pays other similar employees who take non-military leaves.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
The USERRA applies to all public and private employers in the United States, regardless of size. For example, an employer with only one employee is covered for purposes of the Act. It protects the employment rights of individuals who must be voluntarily or involuntarily absent from their civilian employment positions to serve in the U.S. military. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services.
Employee Handbooks and a USERRA Policy
Now is the time to review your USERRA policy. If you don’t have an employee handbook, a law such as the USERRA is another reason why you should.
Marzano Human Resources Consulting can help you revise your USERRA policy to ensure you are in compliance with this law. If you don’t have a handbook, we would be happy to work with you on drafting one. Having an employee handbook and ensuring it stays current based on changes in employment law, is the best way to mitigate risk to your company.
Contact us for a no-cost consultation. We believe you will be pleasantly surprised at how cost effective it is to develop an employee handbook, a critical piece to your company’s continued success.