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Small Business Employees and Military Leave Pay

In August 15, 2019
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What are your options and requirements as a small business owner?

If you have an employee who is taking part in military leave, you have legal rights as a small business owner and are required to follow laws that have been set in place for that employee. 

Most importantly, you need to be familiar with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).  USERRA is designed to protect military personnel in three ways, including to:

  • Ensure they are not discriminated against based on their military service, including past, present or future service
  • Ensure they are not disadvantaged because of their service 
  • Ensure they are able to be promptly reemployed upon returning from military duty

When it comes to pay, public employers are required by law to pay any military personnel while on duty – or at least the difference between the pay the employee receives from the military and public employment. 

Private employers opt to pay military employees out of respect and thankfulness for their service although they are not required by law to pay.

It is important that, as an employer, you contact your state government to determine local guidelines that apply to military pay and employment.

MREIDL to Help

Many companies go through a transition period when an employee leaves, including when one is lost to military leave. The federal government fortunately recognizes that there is a potential impact on small businesses, which is why a loan program has been created to help bridge that gap. The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (MREIDL) is purposed to offer funds to eligible small businesses so that they can meet necessary and ordinary operating expenses that would have otherwise been met if an essential employee was not “called up” to active duty. Although this program isn’t for every small business, it is something you may want to consider for yours if you lose an employee to military leave.

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