A recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision may result in employers having to offer paid leave for those that actively serve in the military. On February 3, the Court issued an opinion in the White v. United Airlines, Inc. and held that under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA), employers are required to provide paid military leave to the same extent they provide paid leave for other absences. Other absences were defined as “instances such as jury duty and sick leave.” This opinion is the first circuit court ruling on the issue. Originally, the case was dismissed in the district court and appealed to the 7th Circuit. The granting of appeal by the 7th Circuit sends the case back to the lower court for further proceedings to occur.
USERRA holds that employees absent from work due to military service are entitled to the same rights and benefits generally provided to employees having similar seniority, status, and pay who may be on furlough or other leave of absence.
Employers should be aware of the possibility of a change in the law however no action is required at this time. Cowden will continue to monitor the developments related to this ruling.
Contact your Cowden representative for more information on this or other compliance issues.