New DOL Regs expand FMLA Leave Rights to Include Military Families

The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has just published a Final Rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The final rule becomes effective on January 16, 2009, and updates the FMLA regulations to implement new military family leave entitlements enacted under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008

That new law expands the FMLA in two ways for military families. Under the first expansion, spouses, children, parents or nearest blood relatives can take up to 26 weeks of leave under the FMLA to care for a service member who is injured or becomes ill while on active duty. The illness or injury must be severe enough that the service member is unable to perform his or her duties.

Under the second expansion, employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave when a spouse, child or parent is on active duty in the armed forces or is called up for active duty. Leave is allowed for any “qualifying exigency.”


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