Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a federal law that is enacted each fiscal year to specify the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense.  This year, the NDAA contains two expansions of the exigency and caregiver leave provisions for military families under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):

  1. Caregiver Leave:  Employees could previously take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member (spouse, child, parent or next of kin) who is an active service member currently undergoing treatment for a serious injury sustained on active duty; that leave has been expanded to allow leave to care for a veteran family member undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for a serious injury or illness that was sustained any time during the five years preceding the treatment.
  2. Exigency Leave:  Employees could previously take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying exigencies relating to a reservist family member’s call to active service; that leave has now been expanded to provide exigency leave benefits to the family of a member of any armed service on active duty. 

These expansions became immediately effective when the law was signed. 

For more information on the military leave provisions of FMLA, check out this Fact Sheet on FMLA Military Family Leave Entitlements from the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.  While the fact sheet doesn’t reflect these recent expansions, it does provide valuable information, including who is a qualifying family member and what is a qualifying exigency.