Dear HR Executive,
It was a big change in the FMLA when, two years ago, the government started requiring employers to approve leave for caregivers to family members injured while on military service.
Now, those caregiver leave rights have been expanded. President Obama just signed into law a bill that makes caregiver leave available to employees whose service members were injured for up to five years after their departure from the military.
That's a big shift. Previously, injured service members had to be on active duty with the armed forces, National Guard or reserves before their relatives could take FMLA leave from their jobs to care for them.
Another change: Originally, employees couldn't take FMLA leave when a family member's pre-existing health condition was aggravated by military service. But now they will be able to do so.
Remember, military caregiver leave provides up to 26 weeks of leave, compared with the usual limit of 12 weeks for non-military FMLA leave.
The new law also liberalizes the other type of FMLA military leave: so-called "qualifying exigency" leave. That's the 12 weeks of leave you have to grant eligible employees when a family member is called to active duty in the Guard or reserves.
Now, employers must also authorize exigency leave when a family member in the regular armed forces is deployed outside the U.S.
DOL will be issuing regulations implementing the new leave provisions, and we'll keep you posted on them when they come out.
Editor-in-ChiefHR Rapid Learning Center
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