Military Leave

Summary of Policy

Outlines the health, wellness, and retirement benefits that all current and potential employees are entitled to while on military leave.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

Applies to: All employees who are or may become members of the U.S. uniformed services

All current or potential employees are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and will be afforded rights at least equal to or greater than the protections provided under federal and applicable state law.

Definitions and Regulations:

Uniformed U.S. services include: the active and reserve components of the military, the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, and any other category designated by the President of the United States in time of service or emergency. Non-discriminatory and non-retaliation clauses also apply to temporary employees as well as to applicants for employment at Dartmouth.

Service is defined as: the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service and includes active duty, active training duty, National Guard inactive training duty, and time for an examination to determine fitness to perform any such duty.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 as updated in 2017.

20 CFR Part 1002 - Final regulations issued December 19, 2005 that implement the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, as amended (USERRA)


Employees are expected to notify their managers of military service requirements as soon as possible. Such notification should be in writing (where practicable) and include their anticipated dates of duty.

Employees/supervisors/managers should contact the human resources consultant in the Office of Human Resources at (603) 646-3411 for specific instructions.

For the first 10 days of military service performed in the fiscal year, the employee will receive full Dartmouth pay. (Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may have more detailed compensation guidelines stipulated in their contracts.)  If an employee continues extended active duty beyond 10 days, Dartmouth pays the difference between an employee's military and Dartmouth pay, if the employee's Dartmouth pay is higher.  The employee is required to remit evidence of active duty pay upon return from their leave to receive this compensation.

At the end of active military service, employees are entitled to return to their same or an equivalent position, depending upon the length of military duty absence.  Based on what is referred to as the "escalator" principle, a returning employee should be put in the same position in terms of seniority and rate of pay as if they did not take any military leave.

Health and Welfare Benefits
An employee may continue health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents up to a maximum of 24 months while on military leave. Employee contributions for health coverages, including the flexible spending account, can continue to be taken from the employee's paycheck on a pre-tax basis while the employee is on Dartmouth payroll.  If the employee discontinues coverage while on military leave, the coverage will be reinstated upon return to employment. If the employee was injured or has an illness aggravated by the period of military service, the obligation to cover that employee falls under the government health plan, not the Dartmouth-provided employee plan. Life insurance coverage is not available during military leave.

Retirement Benefits
Employees who return to their jobs will not be considered to have had a break in service for the purposes of retirement plan participation, vesting, and accrual of benefits. This applies to the defined benefit and 401(a) defined contribution retirement plans. Dartmouth will not make contributions to the retirement plan while the employee is deployed on military service, but will make up any contributions attributable to the employee's period of service unless it is impossible or unreasonable to do so, and then  will make the contributions as soon as practicable. The vesting of employment rights occurs on re-employment. Thus, if the employee does not seek to be re-employed by Dartmouth, then Dartmouth is not responsible for those obligations.


Employees who are activated must provide at least verbal notice of their call to duty to their supervisors. They are not required to provide written proof prior to taking leave. Notice of their intent to return to work is also required.

Policy ID


Effective Date

December 1, 2006

Last Revised Date

July 25, 2022


Office of the President

Office of Primary Responsibility

Office of Human Resources (HR)

Last Reviewed Date

July 27, 2022

Next Review Date