A new law signed by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009 expands FMLA for military families even more than the NDAA or National Defense Authorization Act of 2008.
This change in the law will require every employer to update the Military Caregiver poster, even if they do not have any employees who qualify.
The National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 provides for two major changes to current FMLA regulations:
Families of Armed Forces members on active duty are covered, not just family members of the National Guard and Reserve
Military caregiver leave is expanded to cover the families of some veterans
It appears that these changes are retroactive, according to Matthew Effland, an Indianapolis attorney specializing in FMLA issues.
Active Duty Included
Under the new law, when a member of the Armed Forces is deployed to a foreign country, his or her spouse, son, daughter, parent, step-child, or step-parent can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected FMLA leave for any “qualifying exigency.”
Many employers have already been granting this leave to military families, and not just the families of Reserve or National Guard members who are called to active duty. In fact, it is unclear why the U.S. Department of Labor interpreted the original law so narrowly in the final days of the second Bush administration.
Under the current regulations, qualifying exigencies include attending military-sponsored functions, making appropriate financial and legal arrangements, handling details of a short-notice deployment, attending counseling, and making alternate childcare arrangements. In addition, an employee can take up to 5 days of FMLA for rest and recreation or R&R under the law. The employee can also use FMLA up to 90 days following deployment for arrival ceremonies, post-deployment ceremonies and other military events.
Military Caregiver Leave Expanded to Veterans
The NDAA also permits an employee who is the son, daughter, spouse, or parent to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected FMLA during a 12-month period to provide care for a service member who has been injured or contracted a disease in the line of duty.
This extended FMLA leave also applies to the injured soldier’s next-of-kin, regardless of the relationship. This means in some cases that an in-law, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle or cousin could qualify for military caregiver leave.
The new law permits the Continue reading