President Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act setting the budget for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2010. The NDAA amends the Family & Medical Leave Act and is effective immediately. In relevant part, the NDAA amends the FMLA to extend its military leave entitlements. The FMLA is amended, in relevant part, as follows:
- Expands the exigency leave provisions (which had been limited to family members of reservists) to make clear that employees make take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying exigencies to family members of any member of the armed services on active duty.
- Provides up to twenty-six (26) weeks of unpaid caregiver leave to care for any veteran family member (i.e., child, spouse, parent or next of kin) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for a serious illness or injury that was sustained or aggravated in the line of duty and was a member of the Armed Services during the five (5) period preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes the treatment, recuperation or therapy.
Employers should amend the FMLA policies in their handbooks and procedures to incorporate these changes and train those responsible for administrating leaves of absences on these important changes.