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Disaster-Related Military Leave

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HR professionals in Texas public education entities could find themselves caught off guard by atypical active duty leave requests due to recent changes in available types of military leave.

On October 28, 2021, the Governor of Texas issued a proclamation amending and renewing the disaster proclamation concerning border security originally released on May 31, 2021. The proclamation is relevant to Texas education entities because employees who are members of the Texas National Guard, Texas State Guard, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a state or federally authorized Urban Search and Rescue Team, may be called to active duty to address the crisis.

A New Type of Military Leave

As of September 1, 2021, in addition to the standard 15 days of paid leave per fiscal year for authorized military training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority, eligible employees in Texas who are called to state active duty by the governor or other appropriate authority in response to a disaster are also entitled to an additional seven days of paid leave via House Bill 1589, which passed during the 87th Legislative Session (Tex. Gov’t. Code §437.202).

Plan Ahead

Education entities should prepare for disaster-related leave requests by maintaining familiarity with both forms of military leave and their interactions with the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) as it relates to the continuation of health care coverage and reemployment rights. Additionally, it is important to remember that while on such leave, an employer may not deduct sick leave, personal time, or vacation time, nor subject the employee to loss of time or efficiency rating (Tex. Gov’t. Code §437.204).

Further Reading

More information on this new form of leave and managing military leave in general can be found in the previously published HRX article Managing Military Leave and in the HR Library topic Leave for Military Service. For colleges, see Leave for Military Service - College.

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Keith McLemore
Keith McLemore
Senior HR and Compensation Consultant

Keith McLemore joined HR Services in 2015 and assists districts with compensation planning and development. He has 17 years of experience traveling the state supporting public education employees.

McLemore received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University, both with a focus on research analysis and design. He is a SHRM-CP.

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TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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