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Military Duty Leave for Employees in Illinois

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Illinois employers must provide employees with leave for military duty in accordance with these state rules.

Private and public sector employees in Illinois, except temporary employees and state employees in certain administrative positions, are eligible for military leave privileges.

Reinstatement

Private and public sector employees in Illinois, except temporary employees and state employees in certain administrative positions, who leave work to enter the military service (active duty or training) must be restored to their former positions with the same increases in status, seniority and wages that were earned during the term of military service by employees in like positions, or to a position of like seniority, status and pay, under certain conditions.

The employees must be able to demonstrate evidence of honorable discharge, apply for reemployment within 90 days after being relieved from service or from hospitalization continuing after discharge for a period of not more than one year and still be qualified to perform the duties of the former positions.

However, restoration can be denied by employers when circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so.

Employees no longer qualified to perform the duties of former positions because of service-connected disabilities must be restored to other similar positions they can perform with like seniority, status and pay, unless changed circumstances make it impossible or unreasonable for a private employer to do so. Protection is also afforded to those not accepted in the military if application for reemployment is made within 90 days after receipt of a rejection notice.

Any person who is reemployed is considered as having been on leave of absence during military service and is entitled to participate in insurance or other benefits under the employer's rules and practices relating to employees on leave.

After restoration, employees cannot be discharged without cause for one year.

Where a person is given a specific date to start full-time employment with an employer but is called to active duty prior to that start date, the employer is to provide the individual with a written copy of the employment offer that states the date the work was to begin, the job title or duties to be performed, a statement showing remuneration offered, and the employer's signature.

Upon satisfactory completion of military service or honorable discharge, the individual, if still qualified to perform the duties of the job and if application is made within 90 days of relief from service, is to be given preference for employment with that employer.

If it is impossible or unreasonable because of changes in circumstances for the employer to employ the individual immediately, the individual is to remain eligible for employment for up to one year from the individual giving notice to the employer of his or her desire to work.

Members of the Illinois National Guard who are called to active duty pursuant to a declaration of war or in time of declared emergency or civil insurrection are to be given written notice of these rules.

Education

The same rights regarding credits or refunds of college tuition and fees are given to those called to active duty by the President of the United States and the Governor of Illinois.

Illinois law gives access to MIA/POW scholarships to members of the National Guard and Reservists.

Prohibited Discrimination

It is an unlawful employment practice for Illinois employers to discriminate against employees based on the employee's military status (status is defined as being on active duty in the United States Armed Forces).

In addition, it is unlawful for anyone to willfully deprive a member of the state National Guard or reserve forces of the United States of employment, prevent employment by another, or obstruct or annoy a member or the member's employer in respect to their employment because of such membership.

Fines are imposed against employers who terminate an employee's job while the employee is on active duty as a Reservist or member of the National Guard. If the Service Member's Employment Tenure Act is violated, an employer must compensate an employee called to active duty for any loss of wages or benefits, along with reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

Family Military Leave

Employers who employ between 15 and 50 employees must provide up to 15 days of unpaid family military leave to an employee during the time federal or state deployment orders are in effect.

Employers who employ more than 50 employees must provide up to 30 days of unpaid family military leave during the federal or state deployment orders.

Family military leave means leave requested by an employee who is the spouse or parent of a person called to military service longer than 30 days with the state or United States pursuant to orders of the Governor of Illinois or the President of the United States.

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