Michelle Cohen Levy

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What if you are deployed as a reservist?

| Sep 16, 2019 | Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) |

Your service as a reservist in Fort Lauderdale affords you the unique opportunity to both serve in the military while also developing a prosperous civilian career. Yet there may be times when your military service conflicts with your career ambitions. Say that you have recently been hired into a new position, yet also received word that your unit is going to be deployed. A military deployment can be as brief as 90 days or as long as 15 months (depending on the position that you serve in). What if, after your deployment ends, you immediately need to take an extended leave of absence to address medical concerns? 

As you likely know, the Family and Medical Leave Act entitles you to up to 12 weeks of leave from work per year should you (or a member of your immediate family) encounter serious medical problems. However, in order to qualify for leave under FMLA, you have to have worked for your current employer for at least 12 months (and you must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that year-long period). Can you still qualify for such leave if extended military service interrupts your first year with a new company?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you can. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act mandates that if you are called away to perform USERRA service, you are to be given credit for the work hours and days you would have been on the job had you not been deployed. This time would be counted towards your FMLA eligibility, allowing you to qualify for leave (if necessary) immediately upon your return from a lengthy deployment.