Active Military Service Policies
Governor Graves issued Executive Order 2001-05 on September 27, 2001, establishing special policies and procedures to assist state employees who are called or volunteer for active military service in response to the events of September 11, 2001.
Some of the specific policies and procedures include:
- The employee’s position will be protected for as long as they are required to remain on active duty. This protection includes all benefit eligible employees.
- The employee must return to state employment within 90 days after release from active duty or within one year after discharge if hospitalized.
- Upon returning to their state position, employees will not be discharged from employment, except for cause:
- within one year of the date the employee returns to his or her position if the employee’s period of active duty was more than 180 days; or
- within 180 days of the date the employee returns to his or her position if the employee’s period of active duty was more than 30 days but less than 181 days.
- General pay increase and step increases that would have been received had the employee not been on military leave without pay will be granted when the employee returns to work from active military duty.
- Bonuses (i.e. suggestion award program) for which the state has already made an obligation will be paid while the employee is on military leave without pay.
- Employees will receive longevity bonuses that they would have received had the employee not been on military leave without pay. Bonuses are to be paid when due, just as if the employee were not on military leave.
Length of Service
- Length of service will continue while the employee is on military leave.
- The time spent on military leave will count as time worked toward length of service, eligibility for longevity pay, and the accrual rate for vacation leave.
Payment of Leave and Compensatory Time
- The employee may request payout of accrued vacation leave (not to exceed maximum allowed by K.A.R. 1-9-4) or a portion of the balance of any vacation leave, compensatory time, and holiday compensatory time accrued prior to leave for active military duty. The leave or compensatory time accrued during the pay period of the payout will not be paid out at the time the employee leaves for active military duty. This leave and/or time will be available for use when the employee returns to their state position from active military duty.
- The employee has the option to buyback either all or none of their vacation leave that was paid out, at the value that it was paid out regardless of subsequent increases to the employees’ rate of pay. Employees must exercise this option within 30 days after returning to work.
Leave Accrual and Usage
- Vacation and sick leave will not accrue while the employee is on active military duty.
- Employees may request and use accrued vacation leave, compensatory time, and holiday compensatory time at any time over the course of the period that the employee is on leave for active duty.
- A discretionary holiday will be afforded to each eligible employee in accordance with the provisions of K.A.R. 1-9-2(b)(3) while the employee is on active duty. Employees must use the discretionary holiday within the period of time established for all state employees, either before being called to active duty, or after returning from active duty. If the employee does not use their discretionary holiday within the allotted time, the discretionary holiday is lost.
Health Insurance Plan
- The employee’s health insurance coverage ends effective the last day of the month in which the employee goes on military leave.
- Employees on military leave without pay will be allowed to continue health insurance coverage at the current premium rate for the first 30 days of such leave. The employee is required to pay premiums directly to the Division of Human Resources. After the initial 30-day period, the employee may continue with the State of Kansas health insurance coverage by paying the entire premium (employee and employer) under the Direct Bill Program.
- An employee with spouse, children, or full family coverage may elect to drop themselves and keep the spouse and/or children covered in the State of Kansas health insurance plan. This election must be made within 30 calendar days of the effective date of the military leave without pay. The entire premium (employee and employer) will be paid by the employee under the Direct Bill Program.
- If group health insurance coverage is continued, it will be the primary payer of claims and their military coverage will be secondary.
- Employees and/or their dependents who discontinue the State of Kansas health insurance plan while on military leave without pay may reenter the health insurance plan upon returning to work if it is within 90 days of release from military leave. There is no waiting period.
- Employees on military leave without pay during annual Open Enrollment periods may enroll in any coverage for which they are eligible, without penalty, upon their return to active state employment status.
- If an employee is qualified for and elects to participate in the military’s transitional health benefit program, the employee will be allowed to reenter the State of Kansas health plan without penalty when this coverage terminates. The employee may be qualified for up to 180 days of transitional health benefits.
KanElect Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for Health Care and Dependent Care
- Employee participation ends on the last day of the month in which the employee goes on military leave.
- Employees may choose to continue enrollment only in the Health Care FSA under the COBRA state plan (personal payment of contribution). If an employee chooses to continue his or her Health Care FSA while on military leave, the employee would need to make the non pre-tax payment (monthly or lump sum) directly to:
Division of Health Policy and Finance
Landon State Office Building
900 S. W. Jackson Street
Topeka, Kansas 66612
- The Health Care FSA can only be continued through the end of the current plan year.
- The employee may terminate active enrollment and reenter the plan upon return from military leave without a waiting period. Coverage would start the first of the month after return from military leave. The contribution amount will be either the same elected amount, or a different amount based on a status change during the leave.
Voluntary Tax-Sheltered Annuity/Deferred Compensation
- If enrolled, participation will be suspended on the last paycheck.
- Employees may reenter the program upon returning to work. The employee will have up to three times their period of service in the military to make up missed contributions.
- Hardship withdrawals can be considered based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines.
Basic Life Insurance
- An employee who is on an approved military leave without pay will continue to be covered by the basic group life insurance program regardless of having gone off the payroll. This extended coverage ceases once the active military duty period has ended, if the employee does not immediately return to active state employment.
KPERS Optional Group Life Insurance
- An employee who is on approved military leave without pay has three options available concerning this life insurance coverage while on military leave without pay:
- continue the current KPERS Optional Life Insurance coverage for up to 12 months by paying the monthly premium to the Division of Human Resources, Kansas State University.
- convert the current KPERS Optional Life Insurance coverage to an individual policy through Minnesota Life Insurance Company, or
- cancel the KPERS Optional Group Life Insurance coverage while on military leave without pay.
- Whether or not the employee exercises these options, the employee on military leave without pay is immediately entitled, upon timely return to state employment, to his/her former level of optional coverage. Premiums will be based on the member’s age at the time of return to state employment.
TEA Life Insurance
- An employee who is on approved military leave without pay is eligible to continue this life insurance coverage. The employee pays the premium for this coverage.
- Should the employee elect not to pay the premium or cancel the life insurance coverage, s/he may re-apply any time after returning from military leave without pay to state employment. This is subject to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company underwriting provisions.
There is no KPERS disability coverage during service in the military.
Kansas Board of Regents Mandatory Retirement Plan
- Participation is suspended while the employee is on military leave without pay. An employee who is in the "one-year waiting period" awaiting participation is not penalized for being off payroll on military leave without pay. The period the employee is away on military leave without pay is counted toward completion of the one-year waiting period.
- With respect to retirement plan premiums, no break in employment service is considered to have occurred because of military service. The employer will make, on behalf of the returning employee, any plan contributions that the employer would have made if the employee had not been absent for military service provided the employee agrees to make their contribution to the selected retirement plan provider.
- Participation is suspended while the employee is on military leave without pay. An employee who is in the "year of service" awaiting membership in KPERS is not penalized for being off payroll on military leave without pay. The period the employee is away on military leave without pay is counted toward completion of the year of service.
Questions should be addressed to Benefits Administration, Division of Human Resources, (785) 532-6277, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.