Life Events - Military Service Leave

University of Michigan faculty and staff members in the Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard who are called to active duty are placed on Military Service Leave. Under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Military Service Leave is treated the same as any unpaid leave of absence.

Benefits coverages end on the last day of the calendar month in which the employee leaves the university for active duty. Some benefits plans can be continued at the expense of the employee during a Military Service Leave. The list below summarizes options available for each plan.

  • Health Plan and Prescription Drug Plan. University Health Plan and Prescription Drug plan coverage may be continued during the Military Service Leave at the employee's expense. Faculty and staff members and dependents who want to continue coverage should contact the HR/Payroll Service Center.

  • Advance Supplies of Prescription Medication. Participants in the Prescription Drug Plan who need to obtain an advance supply of prescription medication prior to going on active duty should call the HR/Payroll Service Center at 734-615-2000 or 866-647-7657. Have your UMID number available.

  • Dental Plan. Dental coverage may be continued at the employee's expense. Faculty and staff members and dependents who want to continue coverage should contact the HR/Payroll Service Center.

  • Group Life Insurance Plans. University, Optional, and Dependent Life Insurance Plans may be continued at the employee's expense. Faculty and staff members and dependents who want to continue coverage should contact the HR/Payroll Service Center.

  • Long-Term Disability. Long-Term Disability coverage is not available during periods of active military service.

  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account. You can contribute to a Health Care Account during Military Service Leave.

    • You may only receive reimbursements for services incurred during periods when you made contributions to the account.
    • If you wish to receive reimbursements during Military Service Leave, you must make aftertax contributions to your Health Care Account. Reimbursement will be based on the total amount you elect for the year and will be paid on request.

  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. You cannot contribute to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account during periods when you are not receiving salary from the university.

  • Retirement Savings Plan. University and employee contributions to university retirement savings plan accounts stop with the last paycheck prior to a Military Service Leave.

    When you return to work at the university from active military service, you may make up contributions to your university retirement savings plan that were missed while on leave. You may also make up any supplemental (SRA) or 457b contributions that were missed. The amount you choose to make up is your decision and is entirely voluntary.

    If you are a compulsory participant in the plan (you are age 35 or older, have two or more years of service, and are working a 100% appointment effort full time), the university will still provide a contribution of 5% even if you choose not to make up your contributions. The university provides a minimum 5% contribution for compulsory participants that choose not to contribute, upon your return from a military leave.

    • Contact the HR/Payroll Service Center after you return to work from your leave to ensure your retirement contributions start again and to indicate if you wish to make up the missed contributions.
    • Your 5% contribution and the university 10% contributions that would have been made during the leave will be calculated based on your compensation rate prior to the leave.
    • An extra payroll deduction will be set up each pay period to make up for the missed contributions. You have up to three times the length of the leave to make up the missed contributions once you return from leave, capped at five years.

  • See Military Leave of Absence for more information.

From the Internal Revenue Service, Sept. 28, 2006

Active-Duty Reservists Get Relief on Retirement Plan Payments

WASHINGTON — Military reservists called to active duty can receive payments from their individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans and 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, without having to pay the early-distribution tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. See the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=163054,00.html for more information.

Returning to Work from Military Service Leave

When you return from Military Service Leave to a university appointment eligible for benefits, contact the HR/Payroll Service Center to have your benefits reinstated.

Any change in dependent status, such as marriage or a new baby, that occurred during the leave must be reported:

  • Within 30 days of your return if you did not continue your benefits during your leave; or
  • Within 30 days of the event if you did continue your benefits during your leave.

Complete and submit a Benefits Enrollment/Change Form to change coverage for your dependents.

If you continue your benefits through the university during a leave, and you do not return to the university at the end of your leave, you will be offered COBRA for your health plan, prescription drug plan, and dental plan coverage, and Health Ccare Flexible Spending Account. Under COBRA, you may continue these benefits at your own expense for up to 18 months.

For More Information

For more information, or to continue your benefits during Military Service Leave, contact the HR/Payroll Service Center by calling 734-615-2000 or 1-866-647-7657 (toll free). Service Center Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Labor maintains a website that describes the university's obligation to employees returning from a military leave. View the USERRA Advisor at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/userra0.htm.

Paying for Your Benefits