The years 2008 through 2013 have seen numerous amendments to the Family Medical Leave Act (commonly referred to as the “FMLA) and its effect on military families. In 2008, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, which amended the FMLA by providing two types of leave FMLA-eligible employees in military families. First, “qualifying exigency leave” allowed a family members of members of the National Guard and Reserves to take a leave of up to 12 weeks to address a range of issues that often arise when a covered military member is on covered active duty. Second, “military caregiver leave” was added to the FMLA, which allowed up to 26 weeks of leave for a family member of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.
In 2009, both “qualifying exigency leave” and “military caregiver leave” were amended. “Qualifying exigency leave” now includes leave for family members of members of the Armed Forces as well as National Guard or Reserves but restricts the leave to only when those members are deployed to a foreign county. “Military caregiver leave” now adds parental care as a new category of leave for an injured member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves and now allows leave for family members of veterans who are within five (5) years of active duty.
To further illustrate these changes, the Department of Labor has circulated a side-by-side comparison of the old and new regulations, which is available here.
No later than March 8, 2013, the Department of Labor requires FMLA-qualified employers (public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local educational agencies, and private sector employers that employ 50 or more) to display the new FMLA poster in a conspicuous place, which is accessible to employees and applicants, even if no FMLA-eligible employees are present. The updated poster is available for free here.
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