Policies & Contracts

517 - Leave of Absence for Active Military Service

Subject: Leave of Absence for Active Military Service

Section: U517

Date: January, 2022


The purpose of this policy is to provide leave for employees who are called to active military duty.

Who is Governed by this policy:

All full-time and part-time employees.


Before Your Military Leave

Requests for Leave

When the need for the leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide the University with at least 30 days’ advanced notice. When the employee becomes aware of a need for a military leave less than 30 days in advance, the employee must provide notice of the need for the leave as soon as is practicable. When the need for military leave is not foreseeable, the employee must comply with both their unit’s customary call-in procedures and the process for requesting leave.

Employees requesting a military leave are required to submit a leave request through Workday. Following this submission, Workday will send a notification of the request to Leave Administration.

Leave Administration will respond in Workday to inform employees of additional obligations, including whether additional documentation, normally military orders, is required to determine approval.

Leave requests that are not submitted according to policy and as soon as practicable may be delayed or denied based on individual facts and circumstances at the discretion of the department and Leave Administration. 

Approval/Denial Notice

The employee will be notified whether their leave is approved or denied by Leave Administration within 5 business days of receiving the completed documentation. This notification will be provided in Workday and through another means such as mail or email.  

During Your Leave

Attendance and Military Leave

Absences covered by military leave will not be counted as an unscheduled absence under University Policy 502 Attendance (Absenteeism, Tardiness and Job Abandonment).  Employees may be subject to corrective action if, during their leave, they engage in activities inconsistent with the stated purpose for the leave.

Extension of Leave

If the employee needs to be absent from work beyond the dates outlined on the approval notice, the employee or their designee must contact Leave Administration and their supervisor as soon as practicable.  The extension request may be oral or in writing and should reflect the dates provided in the updated military orders.

Failure to comply may result in delay or denial of additional leave, potentially subjecting the employee to corrective action for their unexcused absence(s) up to and including termination.

Pay Status While on Leave

Employees in the Reserves who are called up for active duty will receive a lump sum payment equal to 4 weeks of pay. Pay is determined by the employee’s primary position’s regular base rate of pay and scheduled weekly hours of work at the time of the leave, minus normal deductions. Military pay is not deducted from the employee’s pay. Military leave is otherwise unpaid.

An employee on an approved military leave for more than half of the workdays in a month will not accrue sick, vacation, or personal holidays.

Sick Leave: The employee’s accrued sick time leave will remain intact during a military leave.

Vacation and Personal Holidays: Vacation and personal holiday accruals will be paid out in a lump sum as soon as is practicable. 

University Holiday Pay: An employee is not awarded University holiday pay while on a military leave.

Employee Benefits While on Leave

Health Insurance (Medical, Dental, and Vision): The University will maintain their coverage on the same conditions as if the employee was working subject to applicable plan documents and law. An employee must pay the same contribution rate as if they were an active employee to continue health insurance during a military leave.  The employee will be billed by a third-party administrator and must make payments for their share of the premiums monthly. The University's obligation to maintain health benefits cease if an employee fails to pay their share of the premiums. An absence covered by a military leave will not be considered a break in service.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA): During a military leave, contributions towards an FSA or HSA will cease.  Funds already contributed remain available for use. Please note, the FSA plan year remains the same for both the medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts regardless of leave status.

Group Life: During military leave, the employee may continue participation for up to 24 months.

Long-Term Disability: During military leave, the employee may continue participation for up to 24 months.

Personal Accident Insurance: Coverage ends when the employee goes on military leave.

Business Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage ends when the employee goes on military leave.

Retirement Plans: Military leave will be treated as continuous service (i.e., no break in service) for purposes of vesting and eligibility to participate in the University's retirement plans . During a military leave, an employee participating in the retirement plans will not continue to contribute, but contributions that the employee has already made will not be affected.

Tuition Benefits: Please refer to the Educational Assistance Plan Summary.

After Your Leave

Job Restoration

An employee who takes military leave will be returned to their same position, as if they had been continuously employed, as long as they provide notice and documentation of their return within 90 days of their release from active duty.  Exceptions to job restoration are permitted when the original assignment ended, or the original position is eliminated during the military leave due to reduction in force, reorganization, or if the employee would not otherwise have been employed even if leave had not been taken. In the event the University will not be able to restore the employee, written notification will be provided.

Employee Benefits Upon Return from Leave

Health Insurance (Medical, Dental, and Vision): Upon returning from leave, premiums for any health insurance and other group benefits will resume through payroll deductions.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA): If applicable, FSA and HSA deductions will resume.

Group Life, Long-Term Disability, Personal Accident Insurance, and Business Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage will resume as provided by applicable plan documents and law.

Retirement Plans: Returning employees will be given an opportunity to make the pre-tax contributions they would have made if they had not been on military leave. If they make these contributions, the University will also contribute the amount it would have contributed on their behalf.

Failure to Return after Military Leave

Any employee who exceeds their approved military leave without extension or fails to return to work as scheduled after their military leave may be subject to termination of employment.


Employees represented by a union may be governed by the provisions of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.

roles and responsibilities:

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities 
Employee The Employee is responsible for following the Supervisor’s time off request procedures and recording sick leave use. 
Supervisor The Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, verifying the use of sick leave is appropriate, monitoring for pattern absences, and approving sick leave use in the time off calendar. 
HR Partner The HR Partner is responsible for ensuring employees are categorized accurately to ensure sick leave is accrued and used correctly. 

related information:

Policy U222 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping and Tracking Absences

Policy U509 Vacation

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U512 Sick Leave

Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Illinois Occupational Diseases Act

FMLA Employee Guide

FMLA Employee Rights And Responsibilities Poster 

key contacts:

Name Email Extension
Center of Expertise - Benefits: Leave Administration leaveadministration@uchicago.edu 2-9634