Military Leave FAQs
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283

References

  • 38 USC 4301 - 4333


  • SC Code of Laws 8-7-10 through 8-7-90


  • SC Code of Laws 25-1-2310


  • State HR Regulations Section 19-712.01 Adobe Acrobat


  • Employment Issues for State Employees Serving in the Military


  • Summary of Military Leave Adobe Acrobat

  • General Information

    Q: Who is eligible for paid military leave?

    A: Employees in FTE, temporary grant, or time-limited positions with official
    military orders are eligible for paid military leave to engage in training or
    any other duties to which they are lawfully ordered. Temporary employees are
    not eligible for paid military leave.

    Q: What are official military orders?

    A: All written or oral orders are considered valid when issued by an official military authority. An employee is required to provide official written military orders at the agency's request; however, written military orders may not be available before the employee is required to leave for military service.

    Q: Can an employee use the 15 workdays, normally used annually for short term military training, for active military service in response to an executive order for a declaration of an emergency?

    A: Yes, the South Carolina statute and the State Human Resources Regulations provide that an employee may use 15 regularly scheduled average workdays to engage in training or any other duties to which he is lawfully ordered.

    Q: Are the 15 regularly scheduled workdays of short term military leave granted on a calendar year or a fiscal year basis?

    A: An employee should make a one-time declaration of whether the year is considered calendar or federal fiscal. Typically, this determination is based on the year used by the employee's military unit.

    Q: When an employee has used a portion of the 15 days of short term military leave, and is called to active service due to a declaration of an emergency, can he use the remainder of the 15 workdays of short-term military leave?

    A: Yes, if the unused portion of the 15 days is within the same year, an employee may use the remainder of the days for active military service.

    Q: Must the 15 workdays of military leave be consecutive?

    A: No, the 15 workdays are not required to be consecutive.

    Q: Are the 15 days of short-term military leave calendar days or workdays?

    A: The 15 days of short-term military leave are based on regularly scheduled average workdays.

    Q: Can the agency refuse to grant an employee military leave?

    A: No, an agency cannot refuse military leave to an employee who has official oral or written military orders.

    Q: Is an employee on military leave entitled to holiday even if it is a scheduled day of work?

    A: If the employee is out on military leave and a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled work day, the employee should receive the holiday and the holiday would not count towards military leave.


    Travel Time

    Q: Is an employee's travel time included as part of the 15 days of military leave?

    A: If travel time is not included in the official military order, an employee may request annual leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay for travel time to get to the assignment outside of the dates on the order.


    Additional Military Leave

    Q: If a state employee is called to active military service for a declaration of an emergency, is he eligible for any additional military leave with pay beyond the 15 days?

    A: Yes, in accordance with SC Code of Laws 8-7-90, an employee who receives official military orders to serve during a declared emergency is entitled to 30 days of paid leave per declared emergency in addition to the 15 workdays of paid military leave granted each year.

    Q: If a state employee is called to serve on active duty in a combat zone, is he eligible for any additional military leave with pay beyond the 15 days?

    A: In accordance with SC Code of Laws 8-7-90, an employee who serves on active duty in a combat zone and who has exhausted all available leave for military purposes is entitled to receive up to 30 additional days of military leave in any one year.
    Q: Are the 30 additional days of military leave for a declared emergency and serving in a combat zone calendar days or workdays?

    A: The 15 days of short-term military leave and the 30 additional days of leave for a declared emergency are based on regularly scheduled average workdays.


    Volunteers for Military Service Assignment

    Q: Is an employee who volunteers for active service eligible for military leave?

    A: Yes, if an employee volunteers for a military service assignment and an official military order is issued, he is eligible to receive paid military leave.


    Additional Leave Options

    Q: What are the other leave options for an employee on a long term military leave of absence?

    A: An employee may elect to use any available compensatory time or annual leave or he can be placed on leave without pay. In addition, per the Appropriations Act, an employee may use up to 45 days of annual leave and up to 90 days of sick leave in a calendar year to serve on active duty as a result of an emergency or conflict declared by the President of the United States.


    Leave Without Pay for Military Service

    Q: How are leave and pay affected when an employee on active military service is on leave without pay?

    A: An employee will not be eligible for leave accrual and merit increases while in leave without pay. The State service date, continuous service date, and leave accrual date will not be adjusted during periods of leave without pay for military service. An employee who returns to work within 5 years will be entitled to any general increase(s) that occurs while on active service.


    Reemployment Rights

    Q: Who is entitled to Veteran's Reemployment Rights?

    A: In accordance with the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), an agency must reemploy employees who occupy an FTE position (including those in a probationary or trial period) returning from military service as long as the length of military service does not exceed 5 years. Under USERRA, "an employer is not required to reemploy a person under this chapter (38 USC 4312) if the employment from which the person leaves to serve in the uniformed services is for a brief, non-recurrent period and there is no reasonable expectation that such employment will continue indefinitely or for a significant period." An employee in a temporary capacity does not have reemployment rights.

    Q: Upon completion of active military service, what reemployment rights exist?

    A: The reemployment rights a person receives upon return from military service depend on the duration of the time spent in military service:

  • State employees who return to work after military service of one to 90 calendar days retain the same position;

  • State employees who return to work after serving at least 91 calendar days but not more than 5 years are entitled to a comparable position within the agency (with the same band and pay rate) for which the employee is qualified; or,

  • State employees are not entitled to Veteran Reemployment rights after an absence of 5 years.

  • Q: Are there time limits for reporting back to work after release from military service in order for military personnel to retain the Veteran's reemployment rights?

    A: The employee must notify the agency of the intent to return to work and the required time periods are:

  • Military service of 1 to 30 days; the employee must return to work at the beginning of the first regularly scheduled workday or eight hours after the end of military service. A reasonable commuting time from a military service post to home must be taken into consideration by the agency;

  • Military service of 31 to 180 days; the employee must contact the agency no later than 14 days after completion of military service; or,

  • Military service of 181 or more days; the employee must contact the agency no later that 90 days after completion of military service.



  • Performance Review Date

    Q: What effect does military leave have on an employee's review date?

    A: An employee on approved leave with or without pay for more than 30 consecutive workdays may have the performance review date advanced up to 90 calendar days after those first 30 workdays.


    Insurance Services

    Q: How are health and dental benefits affected when an employee on active military service is on leave without pay?

    A: An employee on leave without pay due to military service will be allowed to remain on the active group programs (health and dental) and provide coverage for any dependents by paying the active employee share only for health and dental coverage.

    Q: Can an employee elect to cancel health and dental coverage during military service?

    A: Yes. If the employee elects to cancel coverage during his active duty status, his coverage can be reinstated when he is discharged or released from active duty and resumes employment. The request must be made within 31 days of discharge.

    Q: Who does an employee call with individual insurance services questions?

    A: Contact the agency's Benefits Administrator.


    SC State Retirement System

    Q: How does an employee on leave without pay due to active military service continue to make contributions to his retirement account?

    A: An employee on leave without pay due to military service can:

  • continue to pay his contribution to the State Retirement System during his absence by completing the Supplemental Service Report (Form 1224); or,

  • arrange to contribute retroactively when he returns from military service.


  • Q: Who does an employee call with individual retirement account questions?

    A: The SC State Retirement contact for individual questions are:

  • the employer representative at (803) 737-6903;

  • customer service at (803) 737-6800; or,

  • the agency's Benefits Administrator.