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Military and Reservists' Benefits

Why Employers Care

With increased military activity in recent years and more military reservists seeing active duty, employers must navigate an array of requirements covering reemployment rights, health benefit coordination and family leaves.

Reemployment and health benefit reinstatement rules under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) can present complex administration issues for employers when reservists return from service. Coordination of employer-sponsored coverage with TRICARE, the military's health care system, can also complicate employer health benefit administration. Employers may also be required to meet proposed state and federal leave requirements for the spouses and families of reservists. For example, in October 2007, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that requires employers with 25 or more employees to grant up to 10 days of unpaid leave to certain employees whose spouses are serving on active duty in a military conflict.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 contains provisions granting extended leave for families of service members on (or notified of an impending call to) active duty and for family caregivers of injured service members.

The Department of Labor (DoL) issued final rules in November 2008 on qualifications for taking the expanded military family leave for family members of armed services personnel seriously injured in the line of duty and for families of reservists deployed to active duty.

The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act NDAA expanded military caregiver leave under the FMLA to allow care of a veteran with a serious injury or illness who is receiving medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, if the veteran was a member of the Armed Forces at any time during the 5-year period preceding the date of the medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy. The 2010 NDAA also expanded the definition of “serious injury or illness” to include an injury or illness that results from a preexisting condition. The Department of Labor (DOL) in February of 2013 issued final regulations clarifying rules for calculating intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave. These regulations also implement FMLA provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (2010 NDAA) and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (AFCTCA).

What Can Employers Do?

As members of the National Business Group on Health, employers can voice their concerns while shaping and influencing public policy on regulations and legislation to the Business Group's public policy team and by responding to public policy opportunities to comment on proposed regulations, contact Congress and/or the Administration, testify, or participate in related activities.

Page last updated: January 29, 2014

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