Family Medical Leave Act Amended to Include Leave for Military Families

January, 2008

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow a "spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin" to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a "member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness."

This amendment is effective immediately and employers are encouraged to make good faith efforts to comply with the provisions of the NDAA while the Department of Labor prepares guidelines for compliance.  Eligible employers should follow the normal FMLA procedures for administering this type of leave until the Department of Labor provides additional guidance.

A second amendment was made which permits an employee to take FMLA leave for "any qualifying exigency (as yet to be defined by the Secretary of Labor) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation."  This amendment is not effective until the Secretary of Labor issues regulations defining a qualifying exigency.

Most of the other FMLA provisions, including employer and employee eligibility, are unaffected.  Cascade will keep Members updated as more information becomes available.


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