Skip to main content

Military Leave of Absence

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY Human Resources Policies and Procedures
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015


Vanderbilt follows the guidelines established by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) regarding military leave.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other "uniformed services:" (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present or future military service.

I. Requesting Military leave

When an employee is called to military service, USERRA requires the employee in the uniformed services to give advance written or verbal notice of the service to their employer, unless such notice is precluded by military necessity. The employee should submit a Leave of Absence Request Form (/forms/index.php) to his or her supervisor when notified of an impending call to service as soon as possible and provide documentation.

II. Duration of Leave

A. Extended Military Leave

Employees who must be absent from work due to military duty for a time period that exceeds ten working days will be placed on an unpaid military leave of absence for the time period consistent with military orders.

B. Temporary (Two-Week) Military Leave

In addition to the rights and benefits provided to employees taking extended military leave, employees who must be absent from his/her job for a period of not more than 10 working days each year in order to participate in temporary military duty are entitled to as many as 10 days of unpaid military leave.

III. Benefits During Military Leave

An employee on military leave may elect to continue the University health plan coverage and is required to pay only the employee's portion of the insurance premium when in the service for 30 days or less. Thereafter, the employee may elect to continue healthcare coverage as provided under COBRA. However, if coverage is terminated at the employee's option, the University may not impose a waiting period for benefit reinstatement upon return to employment. For more specific information regarding the status of Health Plan coverage, Group Term Life/AD&D and other benefits during military leave, contact the Benefits Office.

An employee on military leave may opt to, but is not required to use PTO during the time that he/she is performing military service. This is an exception to our other leave policies which requires an employee to exhaust all PTO prior to going into an unpaid status. PTO is not accrued while the employee is on military leave.

The University will activate the returning veteran's benefits based upon the length of service he/she would have had if he/she remained on the job.

IV. Returning to Work After Military Duty

To be eligible for protection under USERRA, the employee must report back to work or apply for reemployment within the following guidelines:

1) If the employee served fewer than 31 days or was away from Vanderbilt for other qualified reasons, the employee must return to work the next regularly scheduled workday.

2) If the employee served more than 30 days but fewer than 181 days, the employee must notify his/her supervisor of his/her intention to return to work within 14 days after completion of service.

3) If the employee served more than 180 days, the employee must notify his/her supervisor of his/her intention to return to work within 90 days after completion of service.

4) Upon notification of intent to return to work, the employee must provide military discharge documentation to his/her supervisor that establishes timeliness of application for reemployment and length and character of the staff member’s military service.

An employee returning from military leave will receive seniority and other benefits determined by seniority that the employee had at the beginning of the military leave, plus any additional seniority and benefits the employee would have obtained with continuous employment. In addition, time spent on active duty will be counted towards eligibility for FMLA once the employee has returned to work.

Contact your Human Resources Consultant for questions regarding reemployment of employees returning from military leave.


This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for employees. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt employees, who are employees at will. Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University.

Approved by Traci K. Nordberg, Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor

Approved by Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor, Administration

Vanderbilt University is committed to ensuring equal employment opportunities. In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of TITLE IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or military service in its administration of educational policies, programs or activities; its admissions policies; scholarship or loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation consistent with University nondiscrimination policy.