It is important for public employers to understand the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) and how it impacts their obligation to employees who are on a military leave of absence. ISERRA consolidated the state’s Military Leave of Absence Act, Public Employee Armed Services Rights Act, Municipal Employees Military Active Duty Act, and the Local Government Employee Benefits Continuation Act.
Much of ISSERA is modeled after the federal Uniformed Serivces Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USSERA). However, there are important differences.
Who Is Protected?
- All members of the Armed Forces whether active duty, inactive duty or reserve, including the National Guard when performing state duty.
- All members of Military Auxiliary Radio System, United States Coast Guard Reserve, Civil Air Patrol and the Merchant Marines when performing official duties in support of an emergency.
- Members who are released from military duty with follow-on care by the Department of Defense.
What are Employers Obligations under ISSERA?
1. During periods of military leave for annual training for employees who are members of a reserve component, public employers must continue to pay full compensation (concurrent compensation) for up to 30 days per calendar year.
2. During periods of military leave for active service, a public employer must provide differential compensation, subject to the following:
- Public employees can choose to use their accrued vacation leave with pay in lieu of differential compensation.
- Differential compensation for voluntary active service is limited to 60 work days.
- Public employees who have exhausted concurrent compensation in a calendar year must be given differential compensation.
The method for calculating differential compensation is covered in Section 5-10 of the Act.
3. Employer provided health care must continue to be provided.
4. A service member who is absent on military leave must be credited with the average of his or her evaluations received over the last three years preceding the leave. This rating may not be less than the rating that the employee received for the last rating period preceding his or her leave.
Questions about this law and its impact on units of local government can be directed to the Attorney General’s ISERRA Advocate, Thomas Banning at 1-800-382-3000.