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What are my obligations as an employer when an employee is called up to the military

Lots of employers, in these troubled times, are asking what their obligations are when one of their employees is called up for active duty in the armed forces. Now, the government, in a time of war, is obviously going to place its effectiveness in fighting wars over your effectiveness in running businesses. In other words, it's going to take your employee from you whether you like it or not, and this is one government takeover at least that you can't hire a lawyer to challenge. Now that that's taken care of (the fact that you have no options but to give your employee up), let's look a few of the obligations that you, as an employer, have to your employee, the suddenly active soldier.
1. The good news is that employers are not required to pay their soldier-employees throughout their service in the war. In other words, if John Doe is a soldier and suddenly a war is looming and he's called up for active service, you don't have to pay him an hourly wage or a salary while he's gone. However, you do (if John Doe specifically requests it) have to allow him to use any saved up paid vacation time (or other paid time-off) towards his military service.

2. An employee on military leave and an employee on regular leave have to be treated as if they're in the same situation. This means that even though John Doe is off fighting for his country, he's still your employee, and you still, in important ways, have to treat him like your employee. Take benefits, for example. Let's say that Jane Doe is on regular (non-military) leave, but company policy states that she still has to pay her contribution towards her health benefits and so on. Well, when it comes to John Doe on military leave, the rules are the same. John Doe pays his contribution, and you continue to cover medically (etc.) John Doe. You don't have to do this, however, if John Doe writes to you and says, "Hey, I don't plan on returning to work for you once my military service is over." If John Doe is a part of your company's health care plan he can choose to remain covered by it for up to eighteen months during his military leave, and he has to pay at least 102% of the premium.
3. Your employee-turned-soldier must tell you in writing if he plans on returning to work for you after the war is over (or after his service time expires, whichever comes first). If he fails to do so, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're totally absolved of any responsibility for rehiring him, but it does necessarily mean that your employee-turned-soldier must now pay the consequences of being absent from work according to the policies of your company. That is, if you'd punish a non-soldier employee for missing a lot of work without calling in, you can punish the employee-turned-soldier similarly after his service is done if he failed to notify you in writing that he wanted to return and continue to work under you.
4. If your employee-turned-soldier is on military leave for over 90 days, you've got to treat him upon his return as if he'd never left. If John Doe was working up the ladder, in other words, and would have become assistant manager if war had not intervened, you're obligated to give him the position of assistant manager when he returns. If he's not ready for it, you've got to provide him with the necessary assistance and training to make him so. If that fails, if your employee-turned-soldier can't handle the new responsibilities, you've got to return him to his former position.

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