HR Specialist

FMLA Military Leave Expanded

In Human Resources on December 9, 2009 at 10:55 am

On Wednesday, October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, which expands the federal Family Medical Leave Act’s leave provisions for military families. These new leave entitlements are effective immediately.

Last year, the FMLA’s scope expanded to include two new categories of protected leave: Qualifying Exigency leave and Caregiver leave. As originally enacted, Qualifying Exigency leave was designed to help families of National Guard and military reservists manage affairs when the service member was called to active duty. H.R. 2647 extends the leave entitlement to families of active duty service members.

Caregiver leave provides an employee up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member who is injured while serving on active military duty. H.R. 2647 extends Caregiver leave to include veterans who are undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for serious injury or illness that occurred any time during the five years preceding the date of treatment.

Oregon employers should recall as well that the Oregon Military Family Leave Act (“OMFLA”) went effect in June 2009. OMFLA provides protected leave to the spouse or domestic partner of a member of the federal Armed Forces, the National Guard, or the federal military reserve forces who has been called to (or notified of an impending call or order to) active duty, or who is on leave from active duty during a period of military conflict. OMFLA applies to employers with 25 or more employees.

Now is a good time to review all Family and Medical Leave policies to ensure compliance with the federal expansion of Qualifying Exigency and Caregiver leave as well as OMFLA.


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