On Monday, January 28, 2008, the President signed into law (P.L # - not yet available) the first expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4986) provides additional FMLA leave for military families. Specifically, Section 585 of the bill adds two new FMLA-qualifying events, expanding FMLA to include employees caring for an injured service member as well as family members who have a family member called to active duty.
Under the new law, FMLA-eligible employees will now be entitled to the following:
Family Leave Due to a Call to Active Duty—This benefit provides 12 weeks of FMLA leave due to a spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces. Leave may be used for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the service member’s current tour of active duty or because the service member is notified of an impending call to duty in support of a contingency operation.
Caregiver Leave for an Injured Service member—This benefit provides 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12-month period for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who suffered an injury or illness while on active-duty that may render the person unable to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.