Military Leave in the State of VA

Many businesses have been affected by recent call-ups of National Guard and Reserve units for active military duty. From an employment perspective, these military leaves are governed by The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

It is important to note that under certain circumstances (such as natural disasters or riots) the Governor of the Virginia Commonwealth may call the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia State Defense Force to active duty. Virginia laws provide certain protections to employees affected by such a state call to duty.

Individuals called to state active duty by the governor have the right to take leave without pay from their non-governmental employment. An employer cannot require such an individual to use or exhaust his or her vacation or other accrued leaves during a period of active service. However, the employee may choose to use such vacation or accrued leave to cover a portion or all of the absence due to active duty.

Upon honorable release from state active duty, a member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia State Defense Force should make written application to his or her previous employer for reemployment within five days of release from duty. The individual should be restored to the position held prior to being ordered to active duty. If this position has been abolished or otherwise has ceased to exist during the leave of absence, the individual should be reinstated in a position of like seniority, status and pay if such a position exists, or to a comparable vacant position for which he or she is qualified.

Employers may not discriminate against employees for being members of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia State Defense Force. Also, employers may not dissuade persons from enlistment in these organizations by threat of adverse employment actions.

Should you have questions about military leave, you may contact SESCO Management Consultants by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .