Question :
I take a lot of time off for military training and service. Now, I have been asked to perform service at a time that is particularly inconvenient for my employer. Is my employer permitted to veto my request for military leave?
Answer :
No. You are only required to give your employer notice, not to obtain your employer’s permission. However, as a matter of courtesy, it is recommend that you phrase your notice as a request for permission. The employer has no right to veto the timing, frequency, duration, etc. of your military training and service. However, the employer is permitted to contact your commanding officer. It is Department of Defense (DOD) policy that the commanding officer should work with your employer to resolve conflicts of this kind. The commanding officer will accede to your employer’s reasonable request to reschedule military training, unless doing so would detract from unit readiness and mission accomplishment.

If the timing of this training period presents a real problem for your employer, the commanding officer will try to adjust the schedule, but please understand that such rescheduling must be kept to a minimum. National Guard and Reserve units train together, and they must go to war together. The training periods are scheduled so that the unit can be trained together. If you perform training at a different time, you may miss important training that the rest of the unit received. As a result, you may not learn how to perform some critical task, resulting in additional casualties and endangering the accomplishment of the mission.

Under the “Total Force Policy,” our nation is more dependent than ever before upon the National Guard and Reserve for essential military readiness. The National Guard and Reserve make up almost half of the total pool of available military personnel.

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