Military Leave

Employees who enlist in or are called to active duty in any of the uniformed armed service branches and their reserves, the US Coast Guard, the National Guard and the uniformed branches of the US Public Health Service have rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Washington state law. These rights include:

  • 21 work days of paid military leave annually, from October 1 through September 30.
  • Up to five (5) years of unpaid military leave with specified return to work rights when called to active duty.

Administrative Process

  1. The employee completes and submits the Military Leave of Absence Request form, along with a copy of the military orders, to the unit.
  2. The dean/chancellor reviews the request and signs the request form.
  3. The dean/chancellor forwards the completed and signed form to Academic Human Resources (AHR).
  4. The unit enters the appropriate leave information into payroll (MLP for up to 21 days, after 21 days record as LWO).
  5. AHR notifies the employee that the leave has been recorded.


Military leave of less than 31 days is covered by employer-paid medical and dental benefits to the end of the month in which the leave occurs. Academic personnel remain responsible for any individual employee contributions or copays. Contact the Benefits Office to discuss benefits continuation if a prospective military leave is longer than 31 days.

Under University policy, employees may intersperse monthly use of available paid leave time over a period up to 15 months to retain employer-paid medical and dental insurance benefits for as long as possible while on military leave.

Military Family Leave

Per the Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees who work for covered employers to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent. FMLA leave for this purpose is called qualifying exigency leave. Download and fill out the Military Family Leave Request – Qualifying Exigency form here.

Employees with family members who are active members of the uniformed armed service branches and/or reserves who have experienced serious injury or illness may be eligible to request FMLA leave in order to assist with the service member’s treatment and recovery. Download and fill out the Military Family Leave Request for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Service Member form and complete the steps outlined on the form. Similarly, employees with family members who are veterans with serious injuries or illnesses may be eligible to request FMLA leave as a caretaker. In this case, employees would download and fill out the Military Caregiver Leave Request for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran.

For more information regarding Military Family Leave, contact Academic Human Resources.


 Additional Resources