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January 17, 2007
Employers More Generous to Employees on Military Leave

Twenty-one percent of employers say they pay an employee's full salary while the employee is on military leave, up from 15 percent in 2005, according to BLR's 2007 Survey of Employee Benefits.

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However, the portion of employers paying an employee's full pay while on military leave is still lower than it was in 2003, when 33 percent of employers reported doing so.

In the latest survey, 43 percent of employers said they paid the difference between military pay and an exempt employee's salary, up from 34 percent in 2005.

The share of employers that said they don't pay exempt employees while they are on military leave dropped from 50 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2007.

"The changes in salary payments to active duty reservists and guard members are encouraging," says Susan Schoenfeld, BLR's senior legal editor. "The extended active duty tours in Iraq severely affect employers--and the nation's citizen soldiers. However, employers appear to be stepping up more and more to support employees in the National Guard and Reserves." 

Schoenfeld also points out that savvy employers are looking ahead when instituting pay policies for employees on military leave.

"As the employment market tightens, retaining these soldiers when they return home will become increasingly important," she said. "Smart employers will improve retention by continuing to pay the difference between their military and civilian salaries."

More than 4,000 employers participated in BLR's 2007 Survey of Employee Benefits.

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