Final Rule Amendments to FMLA Benefits for Military

A partner in the law firm of Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jonathan Nadler focuses his attention on labor and employment matters. Jon Nadler has represented a number of clients in matters related to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees may take unpaid leave to care for their own or a family member’s serious illness or injury. In 2008, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) broadened the coverage of the FMLA to provide for military leave for FMLA-eligible employees. This amendment allows an eligible employee to take as many as 26 weeks in 12 months to care for an immediate family member injured or taken ill in the line of duty. It also allows an immediate family member of a National Reserves or Guard member to take up to 12 weeks of leave to attend to family needs prompted by the member’s call to duty.

The NDAA again expanded military-related provisions in 2010. These amendments address the needs of those service personnel with pre-existing conditions aggravated by active duty. The 2010 provisions also allow qualifying exigency leave for family members on foreign deployment. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued regulations clarifying these provisions. These regulations provide an expansive interpretation of these provisions, including those regarding qualifying exigency leave eligibility, pre-existing conditions, and health care providers qualified to certify illness or injury.