On Wednesday President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 2647), which includes provisions expanding military family leave entitlements. Specifically, the Act permits family of active duty members to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the active duty or call to active duty status of a spouse, son, daughter or parent. A broad range of events and activities are considered qualifying exigencies, including short-notice deployment, child care and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, counseling, and military events and related activities. Prior to this Act, exigency leave was limited to family of Reserve and National Guard members only.
The Act also enables military caregivers to take up to six months (26 workweeks) of leave in a 12-month period to care for a covered service member or veteran with a serious service-related injury or illness. The Act now covers care for veterans up to five years after the service member leaves the military. This leave is not calculated using the calendar-year method. Rather, the caregiver may take this leave in a single 12-month period, which begins on the first day the employee takes leave and ends 12 months later.
For more information on these new leave entitlements, see Littler's ASAP: Congress Adds Additional Family Military Leave Entitlements to the FMLA by Mark T. Phillis.