The Federal Government is proud of the fact that thousands of Federal employees also serve in the Reserves and National Guard and are occasionally called to active duty to serve their country in a different capacity. National Guard and Reserve Federal employees are encouraged to gain awareness of their employment rights and benefits when they are called upon to serve their country. The following information is provided to assist in raising employee awareness.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) 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. USERRA Resources and information can be located on the Department of Labor – Veterans Employment and Training Services (DOL-VETS) and the Employer Support and Guard (ESGR) websites.
Please visit the website for more information on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Guidance.
Reservist Differential Pay
In an effort to protect the pay of deploying service members, laws have been implemented requiring employing agencies to pay differential payments to eligible Federal civilian employees who are members of the Reserve or National Guard, called or ordered to active duty under certain specified provisions of law. SSimply put, the differential pay makes up the difference between a Federal employee’s basic pay and military pay and allowances. If you are interested in additional information, check out the Office of Personnel Management Reservist Differential website.
Federal employees whose appointment is not limited to one year are entitled to time off from their Federal position, at full pay, to perform certain types of active or inactive duty in the Reserves or National Guard. Federal employees are authorized 15 days per fiscal year for active duty, active duty training and inactive duty training. Furthermore, an employee can carry over a maximum of 15 days into the next fiscal year. The rules vary based on the type of military service in which the employee is being called to perform. Please visit the Office of Personnel Management website for Military Leave fact sheet and Military Leave FAQs.
Leave without Pay (LWOP)
LWOP is a temporary non-pay status and absence from duty that, in most cases, is granted at the employee's request. In most instances, granting LWOP is a matter of supervisory discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy. Federal employees who are members of the National Guard or a Reserve, or are veterans who have entitlements, beyond what is provided to non-military Federal employees, to LWOP in the following situations:
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 provides an entitlement to LWOP when employment with an employer is interrupted by a period of service in the uniformed service.
- Disabled veterans are entitled to LWOP for necessary medical treatment.
Additional information regarding LWOP for military personnel can be located on the Office of Personnel Management’s website.
As a Federal employee, you are eligible to elect Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage, unless your position is excluded by law or regulation. As a National Guard or Reserve member, you may be called to deploy at any time. Knowing how a deployment affects your current FEHB is important so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Information on healthcare benefits for those entering or returning from military service can be found on the OPM’s HealthCare website.