The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects the rights and protections (PDF) of employees who, voluntarily or involuntarily, leave employment positions to undertake military service, eligible FEMA service or certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System.

Review the Time Off and Leave Guide for details on USERRA leave including eligibility, reemployment guarantees and more.

Coordination with Paid Time Off

USERRA leave is unpaid; however, employees may elect to use accrued annual or sick time during USERRA Leave.

Benefits Continuation

Employees may choose to either continue or cancel eligible benefits during unpaid leave. Benefits continuation (PDF) varies between the leaves of absence. 

If you wish to cancel some or all of your benefits, you can make those changes in bswift, the university’s benefits enrollment system. Please note that if you cancel any of your voluntary life or disability benefits (e.g., optional employee or spouse life, voluntary short-term disability, etc.), you may be required to submit Evidence of Insurability (EOI) to re-enroll in those benefits when you return to work.

Premium Remittance

If continuing benefits during unpaid leave, employees will need to pay for their benefits premiums through Payer Express, GW’s online payment system.

If applicable, Benefits will provide instructions on how to log in and enroll (PDF) in a Payer Express account in order to remit payment for benefits premiums during unpaid leave.  

Please note that if you do not pay your portion of benefits premiums, your benefits may be canceled effective the end of the month following your last payment or deduction. 

Returning to Work

Please contact your manager and Benefits prior to your return to work. Failure to provide notice of your return to work may negatively affect payroll and benefits processing.

Benefits Enrollment

Upon return to active employment, you may re-enroll in any canceled benefits within 30 calendar days of returning to work via the benefits enrollment system. If no election is made, your next opportunity to enroll will be during open enrollment or within 30 calendar days of a Qualified Life Event.

Retirement Contributions

Within 90 days of your return to work from USERRA leave, you will receive the base and matching contributions to the university's 401(a) plan that would have been made for you had you not been on USERRA leave.

You also have the right to make up any missed contributions to your 403(b) account and receive matching contributions on those make up contributions within a certain period after your return to work. For additional details, please contact GW Benefits.

Annual Time and Salary

Employees who had an accrued annual time balance prior to going on USERRA leave will retain those accrued hours. 

In addition, any pay increases you are entitled to will be processed by HR as well. Questions regarding pay increases can be directed to your HR representative.

How to Apply

Contact Lincoln Financial (PDF) at least 30 days prior to the start of your leave (when foreseeable) or as soon as possible.