The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave each year. The employee must be employed for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. Employees may request FMLA for the following events:
On January 28, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA), Public Law 110-181. Section 585(a) of the NDAA amended the FMLA to provide eligible employees working for covered employers two important new leave rights related to military service:
New Leave Entitlement. An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty on active duty is entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the service member. This provision became effective immediately upon enactment. This military caregiver leave is available during "a single 12-month period" during which an eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave.
New Qualifying Reason for Leave. Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave because of "any qualifying exigency" arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation. By the terms of the statute, this provision requires the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations defining "any qualifying exigency." In the interim, employers are encouraged to provide this type of leave to qualifying employees.