Gov. Lee extends military leave pay policy for state employees serving in the Guard or Reserve

Gov. Lee has extended a longstanding executive policy for state employees who also serve in the National Guard or Reserve to ensure they retain pay and benefits.

Governor Bill Lee on Monday signed an executive order that extends a long-standing paid military leave policy for state employees who also serve in the Tennessee National Guard or Reserve Component of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The order has spanned several governors and ensures state employees are able to keep their pay and most of the benefits they make working for the state if they are activated and have to leave their workplace for several months in support of military operations.

Federal law prevents employers from firing Guard or Reserve members who are called to service without due cause, but these servicemembers can still lose money and face financial burdens if they are activated and their military pay doesn’t match their civilian pay and benefits.

When activated, Guard and Reserve military members are paid on the same scale as active duty military based on their rank and time in service. Under the law, military employees must be provided the same level of benefits as non-military employees who are furloughed or taking a leave of absence.

Under Lee’s continuing executive order, state employees who serve in the military are entitled to special leave with partial pay if they are activated to support national or state contingency operations. The longstanding policy has been that the state will make up any difference in pay “to the extent possible,” providing those employees a minimum monthly amount to keep all benefits they had active and in full force.  

“Tennesseans who serve our state and nation in uniform deserve our deepest gratitude and full support,” Lee said. “I’ve signed this order each year to maintain existing policy and ensure Tennessee state employees who serve in the military have the pay and benefits needed to provide for their families while on active duty.”

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