By Kylie Luff, Associate Consultant

2/22/2008 - On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed a bill expanding rights for family members of uniformed service members under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The following leave provisions are effective immediately.

1. Employers must provide eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of caregiver leave under FMLA to care for a spouse, child, parent or next of kin who is seriously ill or injured while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces. Please note that this change requires 26 weeks, rather than the normal 12 weeks, and that this applies only to a military situation.

2. This new law requirement also adds Active Duty Leave to the list of qualifying circumstances in which an employee can be granted up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. In this situation, an employee may be granted leave under FMLA if a spouse, child or parent is called upon for active duty.

Under Family Medical Leave, the term “service member” means an employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin who is seriously ill or injured, serves as a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves, and is:

• undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy;

• assigned as an outpatient to a military medical treatment facility;

• assigned to a unit providing command and control of Armed Forces members, who are receiving outpatient medical care, or;

• on the temporary disability retired list.

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