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Manteca Unified plans extension of military leave benefits for staff
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Manteca Unified School District employees who are called to active military duty are entitled to their full salary and other benefits while they are in the service.

The policy containing that proviso is set to expire at the end of the year, so the decision was made by the Board of Trustees to have that mandate extended and renewed. The process involves a revision of the policy and then a vote by the board.

The first reading of the district’s revised Military Leave Policy took place Oct. 9 at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees with the members unanimously approving that first reading without any discussion. The second reading and final vote by the board will take place at a future date.

The current policy is set to expire Dec. 31, 2012. It was originally adopted on Jan. 15, 2001 to support district employees who are called to active military duty. Later, the policy was modified as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In subsequent years, as Operation Iraqi Freedom and other military operations continued in the war against terrorism, the policy was extended so that district employees who may be impacted by these deployments would become eligible for extended military leave benefits.

The change in the policy being considered by the board would extend it through Dec. 31, 2013.

The policy change extends the benefits beyond the 30 days of service as required by law, and is parallel to that of the California Military and Veterans Code Section 395.01.

The policy also provides the following assurances to district employees called to military service:

• They are entitled to receive their full salary for the first 30 days of their absence, with their health and welfare benefits maintained at the current level.

• They are entitled to be reinstated to their previous position or a position of similar seniority, status and pay upon returning from military service.

• To benefit from the policy, the district employee being called to military service must have been an employee of the district for at least one year before the leave begins.

• In the case of “temporary military service” which is less than 180 days, calculating one year of sercvie can include prior military service.

• The district would pay the difference in salary from what is paid in earnings while the employee is on military leave. Additionally, health and welfare benefits will be maintained at the current level during the period of differential military leave.