About the Merit Systems Protection Board

MSPB Military Leave Appeals

Federal law recognizes that federal employees who are part of the military or National Guard often have conflicting responsibilities. On the one hand these employees have a duty to perform their job as required by their employer, and on the other hand these employees have a duty to attend training sessions conducted by the military or National Guard.

In an attempt to make these dueling responsibilities manageable and promote military service, federal law allows employees of certain federal agencies to take up to 15 paid days per year for required military or National Guard training sessions. Unfortunately, federal agencies do not always provide this legally mandated benefit.

The most common problem is that federal agencies count training sessions held on legal holidays or weekends as part of the 15 paid days allowed for each employee per year. In 2003, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals found this interpretation invalid and explained that the 15 days of paid leave for military training referred to 15 work days. Days when the employee would not otherwise have been required to work (for example, a weekend or federal holiday) do not count toward the 15 day limit. Despite this clarification, some federal employees still experience problems and are denied the full 15 paid days of leave for required military trainings.

What to Do if You’ve Been Improperly Denied Military Leave by a Federal Agency

If you have been improperly denied paid military leave then you may file an appeal of the agency’s decision to deny you paid military leave with the MSPB. In your appeal you will need to prove that you were denied your right to 15 paid days of military leave by your employer. In most cases the employee will allege that:

• s/he had not used 15 days of paid military leave in the given calendar year; and

• the employer either counted the military training time as other paid time off (vacation, personal or sick time), or failed to pay the employee for the military leave time.

In order to prove this allegation, the employee will need to provide documentation of the military training in the form of military pay records or military orders. The appellant will also need to present evidence that s/he was denied pay, or paid time off by providing his or her federal civilian agency pay stubs.

How the MSPB Can Help

If the MSPB finds that you were improperly denied military leave then you may be provided with pay that you should have received or have other paid time off that was wrongly charged reinstated. This is a significant and important recovery for many workers who serve our government simultaneously in military and civilian capacities. It will ensure that you receive the military leave benefit to which you are legally entitled, and that you keep the pay and other paid time off benefits to which you are entitled.

If you have any questions about your rights to military leave and whether they were violated, then you should contact an MSPB attorney for additional information.