FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT AMENDED TO EXTEND EMPLOYMENT LEAVE FOR FAMILIES OF U.S. ARMED FORCES MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Employers who have 50 or more employees during 20 or more weeks of the current or prior year must extend leave to eligible employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On January 28, 2008, Congress amended the FMLA to increase protections for members of the United States Armed Forces and their families.

Broadly speaking, employers must make leave available to eligible service personnel or their families in two situations:

Injured Service Member Leave – the next of kin of a service member injured in active duty is eligible for up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for that injured service member.

Active Duty Leave – service members called to active duty may themselves be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to deal with exigent circumstances arising out of the call to active duty.

The right to Injured Service Member Leave took effect on January 28, 2008. Active Duty Leave is not in effect until the Department of Labor finalizes the regulations covering such leave. Employers should note that, in addition to their obligations to comply with the law as amended, they also are required to post updated notice posters reflecting these changes in the law.