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Family and Medical Leave Act changed

November 16, 2010

Changes to a defense appropriations bill approved by President Bush amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). 

Effective immediately, the amendment permits an eligible employee:

1. Who is the "spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered service member" to take up to 26 work weeks of leave to care for a "member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness."

2. To take FMLA leave because of "any qualifying exigency (as the Secretary shall, by regulation, determine) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation."

The Department of Labor will issue comprehensive guidance soon regarding rights and responsibilities under the amended FMLA. Changes to the FMLA made in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 can be seen at