2008 FMLA Amendments Include Family Leave to Care For Members of Armed Forces

The National Defense Authorization Act, a budget appropriations law for defense, includes an amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  As of January 28, 2008, an employee who is a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to 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,” can take up to 26 workweeks of family leave to care for such person.  The new law also allows employees to take FMLA leave for “any qualifying exigency 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 National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation.”  This latter provision will not become effective until the Secretary of Labor issues final regulations defining “any qualifying exigency.”

For additional information on this topic, please contact Douglas S. Zucker at DSZ@zuckerhatfield.com or  Kathryn V. Hatfield at KVH@zuckerhatfield.com