NU Online News Service, Aug. 7, 2003, 6:17 p.m. EDT – The majority of U.S. employers are making up the difference between civilian pay and military pay for reservists who have been called up as a result of the conflict in Iraq, according to results of an informal survey by Buck Consultants Inc., Secaucus, N.J.

Buck researchers interviewed 400 large and midsize employers and found that two-thirds either cover the military-civilian “pay gap” or simply pay activated reservists their full salaries for some period of time.

Eighty-five percent of the employers surveyed employed reservists, and 83% of the employers that have reservists on the payroll say at least one reservist employee has been called to active duty.

Buck also found that 43% of the responding employers provide full medical benefits for reservists for some specified period of time, and another 23% provide paid medical benefits for the duration of the military leave.

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires only that employers hold reservists’ jobs open during military leaves and give reservists the opportunity to pay to continue their medical benefits.

Some states impose stricter requirements, but benefits experts say many employers do more than either federal or state laws require.

Buck Consultants is a unit of Mellon Financial Corp., Pittsburgh.