The Texas A&M University System supports your service in state or national military units and provides certain employment protections and rights while you serve your country. The A&M System complies with all state and national laws relating to employees in reserve or active military service and does not discriminate against employees who serve in the military. This brochure describes what will happen if you are employed by the A&M System when you voluntarily report or are involuntarily called for military service or training.
The information in this brochure does not apply to you if:
A. Your position with the A&M System is temporary and cannot reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely or for a significant period, or
B. You are in a position with the A&M System that is paid through a grant that will expire before the term of military service ends.
While on Military Leave
Types of Military Leave
Paid leave for training and duty
You are entitled to 15 work days of paid military leave each federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). This leave may be used when you are engaged in National Guard or U.S. armed forces reserves training or duty ordered or approved by proper authority. The days may be consecutive or scattered throughout the year. If you are appointed to work less than 12 months each year, you should arrange your military duty for the months when you are not scheduled to work. If this cannot be done, you must explain why in your leave request.
Paid leave for emergency military duty
If you are a member of the National Guard and are called to active duty by the Governor of Texas because of an emergency, you will receive leave with pay. This time is in addition to the annual 15 days of military leave described above.
Unpaid leave for authorized military training or duty
After you've used your 15 days of paid military leave, you will be placed on leave without pay for up to five years. This may be taken all at once or in several segments.
To cover monthly training obligations without using your 15 days of paid leave, your work schedule will be adjusted, whenever possible, so two of your nonwork days each month coincide with two days of military duty. Once you've used your 15 days of paid leave, you may choose to use accrued vacation to replace all or part of your unpaid leave.
You earn state service credit for all time that you are on military leave. Your service time is credited when you return so your future vacation and longevity pay are based on all of your service, including the time you were on military leave. You receive service credit for Teacher Retirement System or Optional Retirement Plan purposes only if you choose to make contributions for the time you spent on military duty, as described below.
You may continue most of your A&M System benefits while on military leave. Keep in mind, however, that the military provides medical and other benefits and many A&M System plans will not pay benefits while you are in military service or due to involvement in a war. Therefore, it may not be cost-effective for you to pay the premiums to continue A&M System benefits.
While you are on paid military leave or any military leave of less than 31 days, your medical benefits will continue and you will receive the state contribution. When you go on unpaid leave, the state contribution ends. However, you may choose to continue medical coverage for yourself and/or any covered dependents for up to 18 months or until discharge, whichever is earlier, by paying the full premium. If you drop your medical coverage, you will not have to provide evidence of insurability to enroll in medical coverage when you return to active employment, nor will you have pre-existing condition limitations on coverage.
Your optional benefit coverages will continue while you are on paid military leave. You may pay the premiums and continue other insurance coverages while on leave without pay. If you drop your coverage, you may re-enroll in your previous benefit coverages if you return to A&M System employment. Dental, Life, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Long-Term Disability and Long-Term Care coverage are automatically reinstated without evidence of insurability when you return. Pre-existing condition limitations will apply for Long-Term Disability and Long-Term Care coverage.
You may continue contributing to a Health Care Spending Account while on leave by making your monthly contribution after taxes have been paid, plus paying an additional 2% administrative fee and the $2 monthly fee. If you choose not to contribute while on leave, you may submit only expenses incurred before your leave began, and if you return to work in the same plan year (September 1-August 31), you may not re-enroll until the beginning of the next plan year. If you return in a later plan year, you may enroll within 31 days of your return.
You may not contribute to a Dependent Day Care Spending Account while on leave. However, you may continue to submit eligible expenses incurred during the remainder of the plan year in which your leave began. Your contributions will resume automatically if you return to work in the same plan year. If you return later, you may re-enroll within 31 days of your return.
You may not contribute to Teacher Retirement System, Optional Retirement Program or a Tax-Deferred Account while on unpaid military leave. If you return from leave, you may make contributions for your period of military service. If you do so, the state will make its contributions as well, and you will receive retirement service credit for the period of leave. ORP and TDA contributions must be made within a period equal to three times the length of the military service or five years, whichever is less. TRS contributions may be repaid at any time before retirement.
You do not earn vacation or sick leave for any full month in which you are on unpaid military leave. However, any time you had earned before going on leave will be restored when you return.
If you don't plan to return to the System
If you do not plan to work for the A&M System after your military duty is completed, you may provide your Personnel/Human Resources office a written statement of your intent. If you do that, you will waive your rights to some of the above benefits.
Returning From Leave
In most cases, when you complete your military service, you can be re-employed in your previous position or a similar position with the A&M System. Federal law requires that you be rehired in the position you would have had if you had been continuously employed. Since most jobs and promotions in the A&M System are not awarded based on seniority, it is impossible to know what job you might have had if you had been continuously employed. This means you will generally be restored to the job you had at the time you left.
If you are gone more than 90 days and your old job is not available, you will be placed in a job with the same seniority, status and pay. Your old job will not be refilled before your return if you are gone 90 days or less. If you are no longer able to do the job, you will be placed in a job you can do although that job may have less status and pay. Reasonable effort will be made to qualify you for the job or, if you are disabled, to find an accommodation to help you do the job.
To qualify to return to work, you must:
A. apply in writing for re-employment within 90 days after discharge, and
B. provide evidence of discharge or release under honorable conditions, if you were on military leave for more than 31 calendar days.
If you are hospitalized for or convalescing from an injury or illness incurred in or aggravated by your period of duty, you may apply for re-employment after your recovery. In most cases, you may reapply only if you recover within two years. You must provide documentation to show you were medically unable to reapply within 90 days of discharge.
You will not be dismissed from A&M System employment without cause within a year of your re-employment.