Military Leave Policy

Military leaves of absence will be provided to regular and benefits-eligible staff in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and applicable North Carolina laws that protect individuals with military commitments from detrimental employment decisions based on those commitments. Military leaves of absence may be paid or unpaid leaves in accordance with the provisions of this policy.

To care for servicemember who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty see Family Medical Leave Policy - Military Family Leave.


"Military Leave" is any time off that is provided to staff who are members of the National Guard or other reserve component of the United States Armed Services and who are called to active duty, attend scheduled reserve service, and/or temporary training duty.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was signed on October 13, 1994. The Act applies to persons who perform voluntarily or involuntarily duty in the "uniformed services" - including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service commissioned corps, as well as the reserve components of each of these services. Federal training or service in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard also gives rise to rights under USERRA.

Uniformed service includes active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training (such as drills), initial active duty training, and funeral honors duty (performed by the National Guard and reserve members), as well as the period for which a staff member is absent from Duke employment for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to perform any such duty.

Notification of Leave

Unless giving notice is unreasonable or precluded by military necessity, staff requiring a military leave of absence should provide their supervisors with a written or verbal advance notice along with, if available, a copy of the military order. It is recommended that the notice be given to the supervisor at least two weeks before the military-leave-of-absence start date.

Duke may not insist on knowing exactly when the staff member will return to work; however, the staff member can be asked to furnish the approximate beginning and concluding dates of his or her training.

Permanent Active Duty

Military Leave without pay should be granted upon a staff member’s submission of Department of Defense orders setting forth the commencement of military duty and its expected duration and a Request for Leave of Absence form to Corporate Payroll Box 90484, Durham, NC 27708.  For Personal Leave of Absences without pay due to military leave, employees should complete the online Qualifying Life Event Enrollment via Duke@Work and attach a copy of the military order to request cancellation of health coverage.

During the period of Military Leave:

  • The length of employment service accrual should continue for the term of the Military Leave but may be severed upon any voluntary extension of military service that is not at the request of the government.
  • The staff member will receive no benefits.
  • A staff member who returns from Military Leave within 90 days of discharge and who has given Duke adequate notification of his or her intent to return to work will be placed in a position equal in status, benefits, and pay to the position which he or she vacated. This means that the staff member should be credited with eligibility and benefit accruals for the period of his or her absence.
  • Training or retraining and other accommodations may be required of staff members who take military leaves of absence.
  • Special protection against discharge, except for cause, may occur. The period of this protection is 180 days following periods of service of 31-180 days. For periods of service of 181 days or more, it is one year.

Temporary Training Duty

  • Staff obligated to annual military training duty under the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1951, as amended, should be granted Military Leave without pay.

During the period of Military Leave:

  • A staff member may elect to have the temporary training leave charged to accrued vacation or Paid Time Off (STB).
  • Staff on Temporary Training Duty (either on paid or unpaid leave) are fully eligible for all benefits. Sick leave, vacation, or Paid Time Off should continue to accrue as if the staff member had not been absent for military training. If the staff member elects to take an unpaid leave, the supervisor must notify payroll so that vacation, sick leave, or Paid Time Off accruals may be manually credited. Holidays falling within the leave period will be credited to the staff member and may be taken within 60 days after a return from leave. Alternatively, the staff member may request payment in the pay period during which the holiday occurs.
  • Staff remain fully eligible to participate in the Group Life Insurance and health care insurance programs so long as their portion of the premium is paid.
  • Upon completion of Temporary Training Duty, the staff member will return to the position held prior to military leave.

Pre-Induction Physical

A staff member who receives notification to report for a pre-induction military physical may be granted up to two days off. Such time may be charged to sick leave or Paid Time Off (STB).

Compensation for Staff on Military Leave of Absence as of the Start of the New Fiscal Year

  • Staff who are on an official military leave (as of the start of the new evaluation period) and who return to work during the fiscal year (in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994) will receive any across-the-board compensation adjustmentsthat they would have received if they had not been on military leave.
  • At the time of his or her return from military leave, a staff member who worked more than six months during the preceding 12 months will be eligible for a pay increase based on the guidelines for staff working more than six months.
  • If a staff member worked six months or less during the preceding 12 months, he or she will be eligible for an increase based on the guidelines for staff who have worked six months or less.
  • If the returning staff member did not work during the preceding 12 months, he or she will receive the greater of their current rate or the minimum of their pay range.

Further Information and Available Forms

For further information, please contact the Staff & Labor Relations office at 684-2808 (P.O. Box 3904, 1527 Duke South Clinic Building, Durham, NC 27710) or the Leaves of Absence website.