Proposed FMLA Change Extends Support to Military Families

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capitolThe federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is scheduled for proposed updates regarding military and flight crew employees, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced on January 30, 2012. The potential amendments to the act would expand current provisions and include special eligibility options for families not currently covered by the act. FMLA grants qualified employees the right to take unpaid leave from work for certain family and medical-related reasons without fear of job loss.

The proposed rule changes would extend so-called military caregiver leave to immediate family members of veterans for five years after being discharged. FMLA currently covers only the family of military currently serving in the armed forces. FMLA exigency leave, currently covering only members of the National Guard and reservists, is also under consideration to be expanded to families of military members serving in the regular armed forces.

Beyond the military, the FMLA proposals also extend to airline flight crews in an attempt to give these employees easing access to FMLA benefits. The DOL’s proposed amendments would add an eligibility requirement that includes hours of service and provisions to take into account the difficulty in tracking those hours due to conditions of employment unique to crew members.

In addressing the proposed rules and provision, Secretary Solis said, “Keeping the basic promise of America alive means ensuring that workers, from our servicemen and servicewomen who keep us safe at home to the flight crews who keep us safe in the skies, have the resources, support and opportunities they need and have rightfully earned. The proposed revisions announced today are an important step toward keeping that promise.”

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Rachel, writer for, has graduate level work in literature and currently works in university administration.