Military family leave is here to stay

FMLA expands to provide military families greater rights

On Jan. 28, 2008, former President George W. Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 by providing leave to eligible employees for up to 26 weeks to care for covered service members (known as "military caregiver leave") and allowing eligible employees to use their regular 12 weeks of leave because of any "qualifying exigency" arising out of a covered family member's active duty status or notification of an impending call to active duty in support of a contingency operation.

In response, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations to FMLA implementing the new provisions. The revised regulations became effective Jan. 16, 2009.

On Oct. 28, 2009, President Barack Obama followed Bush's lead in expanding the rights of military families under FMLA. Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010, now Public Law No. 111-084. The new law significantly broadens FMLA's military family leave provisions and promises to increase the number of employee requests for military family leave.

Military caregiver leave