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Q&A: How do we handle pay for an employee out on military leave?

There are two federal laws to consider when managing pay for employees on military leave: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

According to the FLSA, non-exempt employees only need to be paid for hours actually worked. Exempt employees, however, must receive their full weekly salary if any work is performed during a workweek when they were taking military leave. If an exempt employee doesn’t work at all during a given week, then they do not need to be paid for that week. Employers are allowed to offset an exempt employee’s salary by the amount they receive for military service while on leave.

Under USERRA, employers cannot require employees on military leave to use their paid time off benefits during absences. However, employees can voluntarily elect to use paid time off to cover absences.

Answer from Laura, SHRM-CP:

Laura has 8 years of HR experience, spanning public- and private-sector work in the education, transit, and insurance industries. After completing a B.A. in Asian Studies from Knox College, she received her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from University of New Haven along with graduate-level certificates in Human Resources Management and Psychology of Conflict Management. Laura enjoys fencing, baking, cross-stitching, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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