Military Leave

There may come a time when you are faced with an employee who may need leave time to serve in the military. All employers, regardless of size, must provide military leaves of absences to employees. The rules governing your employees' rights are set forth in both federal and state law.

What about reservists? As a private (i.e. nongovernmental) employer, you do not have to pay reservists during the period they are on active duty. While some employers have a policy that pays reservists the difference between their regular salary and their military pay, you are under no obligation to do so.


Recognizing the impact that losing a key employee may have on a small business, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) Program. Under this program, the SBA provides low interest loans (no more than 4 percent) to small businesses when they are unable to meet their ordinary and necessary operating expenses and financial obligations because an essential employee is called to active military duty from the reserves. However, a MREIDL cannot be used to cover lost income or profits, to replace regular commercial debt, to refinance long-term debt, or to expand the business.

To obtain a MREIDL application, please contact the SBA Disaster Area Office that serves your state or territory. For more information on programs offered by the SBA, visit the SBA's website.

Notice requirements. Also, you should note that reservists generally must give you advance notice prior to leaving for active duty, except if military necessity prevents them from doing so.

You also may choose to have a policy that makes clear what employees need to do to request military leave.

Business Tools

A sample military leave policy is available in the Business Tools area.