DOL Releases Proposed Rule Expanding Leave Entitlement for Military Caregivers and Flight Crew Members

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On January 30, 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that implements the
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) amendments made by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 (FY 2010 NDAA) and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act. Both laws enacted in 2009 entitle more employees to family and medical leave under the federal FMLA.

Military Service Member Exigency Leave

The FY 2010 NDAA expanded the military leave provisions that had been added to the FMLA by the FY 2008 NDAA. The FY 2010 NDAA permits the family of Regular Armed Forces members, as well as the family of Reserve and National Guard members, to take up to 12 weeks of jobprotected leave in a 12-month period for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the active duty or call to active duty status of a spouse, son, daughter or parent. A broad range of events and activities are considered qualifying exigencies, including short-notice deployment, childcare and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, counseling, and military events and related activities. Notably, the proposed regulations seek to add language to ensure that, for purposes of exigent leave related to childcare and school activities, the military member must be the spouse, parent or child of the employee seeking leave, but the child for whom the leave is sought need not be the child of the employee requesting leave. The DOL gives the following example: An employee who is the mother of a military member is eligible for leave to deal with the childcare of the military member’s child (her grandchild)...

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