The Department of Labor published its Final Rule to implement the FMLA amendments on November 17, 2008. The effective date of the amendments is January 16, 2009. Section 585(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2008 provided two new leave entitlements for Military Family Leave:
1. Military Caregiver Leave. Family members who qualify for FMLA are entitled to take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12 month period to care for a covered service member who has a serious illness or injury that was incurred in the line of duty while on active duty. The definition of "Family Member" for Military Caregiver Leave goes beyond the FMLA definition to include spouse, parent (including step-parent and foster parent, but not in-laws), son, daughter and next of kin (up to first cousins).
2. Qualifying Exigency Leave. This leave is applicable to families of National Guard and Reserve members to help manage their affairs while on active duty. Family members, otherwise qualified for FMLA leave, are entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA job protected leave for any qualifying exigency, which includes:
a. Short term deployment (leave up to 7 days)
b. Military events and related activites
c. Child care and school activities
d. Financial and legal arrangements
f. Rest and recuperation (leave up to 5 days)
g. Post-deployment activities
h. Addtional activities (agreed upon by the employer and employee as to nature and duration)
1. As our servicemembers continue to be deployed, their qualifying family members are entitled to new types of leave. HR and supervisors should be made aware of these changes and how they may impact their employees.
2. The new leave also applies to certain post-deployment activities. Again, HR and supervisors need to be made aware of these changes so that they can addrss these issues as they arise.