Families of Military Service Members Receive Expanded FMLA Rights Under the National Defense Authorization Act


Breaking Developments In Labor and Employment Law


On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the first expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), which modifies FMLA leave available to families of military service members. Section 585 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), H.R. 4985, amends the FMLA by adding two qualifying events for families of military service members. The first of the major changes described below is effective immediately; the second major change will not be effective until the Department of Labor adopts interpretive regulations.

First, the NDAA provides a significant expansion of the amount of leave provided to family members caring for an injured military service member, more than doubling the amount of leave typically available under the FMLA. Under the Act, a “spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of

kin” may take up to 26 weeks of leave, rather than the standard 12 weeks of FMLA leave, during any 12-month period to care for a member of any branch of the Armed Forces who, due to serious injury or illness, is:

• undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy;

• otherwise in outpatient status; or

• otherwise on the temporary disability retired list.

Members of the Armed Forces include members of the National Guard and the military reserves.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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