Washington Labor Law Blog: Insights on the Law for Washington Employers

Obama Signs Law Expanding FMLA Coverage

On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization act of 2010.  The Act included several provisions that expand the right of servicemembers to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Military Caregiver Leave.

  • Under prior law, eligible employees could only take caregiver leave for current members of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves. Now, eligible employees can take caregiver leave for current members of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves as well as veterans undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy at any time at any time during the five-year period preceding the date the veteran undergoes medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy. 
  • The caregiver leave has been expanded to cover aggravation of existing or pre-existing injuries incurred in the line of active duty. Before the amendment, the regulations promulgated by the Department of labor excluded aggravation of existing injuries incurred in the line of active duty as a basis for leave.
  • The new law allows leave to care for a family member wit or preexisting condition aggravated by active duty service in the military.  Prior law only permitted caregiver leave for illnesses or injuries incurred while on active duty.

 Qualifying Exigency Leave

  • Under prior law, qualifying exigency leave was only available for members of the National Guard or Reserves.  The new law expands coverage to members of the regular Armed Forces who are deployed.
  • The new law also expands coverage to all family members of those deployed to a foreign country rather than just to members of the Reserves or National Guard “in support of a contingency operation.” 

Leave a reply