Articles Posted in National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) celebrated its 20th birthday this week. And boy, oh boy, was the DOL was ready to celebrate!

And what kind of birthday would it be without a party? Acting Secretary of Labor Harris hosted a commemoration program that featured celebrity special guests, including former President Bill Clinton, former Senator Christopher Dodd, and former labor secretary Hilda Solis, among others. The entire program, which lasts about an hour, is viewable on YouTube.

But wait, there’s more!! On February 5, the actual anniversary of the day the FMLA was signed into law, the DOL issued a final rule implementing expansions that cover military families and airline flight crews. Under the rule, military family members can take leave to care for a covered veteran who is seriously ill or injured. They can now take additional time, up to 15 days of leave, to be with a service member who is on leave from active duty. Additionally, the rule expands the FMLA’s protections to airline pilots and flight crews who were frequently ineligible for FMLA due to their unique work schedule.

Military caregiver leave, which was amended to the FMLA in January 2008 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, provides unpaid leave to employees who need to take time away from work to help care for a covered family member who became ill or was injured in the line of duty. This leave can be critical to these employees.  But what about when the employee is the service member?  There are ways that employers can offer assistance to employee service member, as well. 

Employment can play a major role in the recovery of wounded and injured service members. To support these brave men and women in their return to civilian life, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), has launched two employment-related outreach programs for returning service members and their employers—REALifelines and America’s Heroes at Work.soldier march

Recovery & Employment Assistance Lifelines (REALifelines)

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), amended the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on January 1, 2008.  The NDAA is one of several laws that obligate employers to provide special protections to employees who are members of the Armed Forces.  The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), is another such law offering similar, but not identical protections to employees who serve in the uniformed services. 

In these times, military service is a reality for many employers who must navigate the labyrinth-like leave laws.  Employers also want to provide their employees with the support they need to transition successfully and safely between the workplace and active duty.  We’ve posted before about some of the many resources and services offered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), each of which is marketed towards a specific audience. 

Yet another resource provided by the DOL is specifically designed for military spouses and the special employment challenges they face as a result of their marital ties to the military. is an online library for military spouse employment, education, and relocation information.  The DOL provides links to employment-related information and other resources for military spouses and military families.  The site is a collaborative project between the DOL’s Women’s Bureau, the Employment and Training Administration, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, in cooperation with the Department of Defense.

Final regulations for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a recent amendment to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), were released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), today.  The NDAA, discussed in detail in previous posts, provides a new type of family and medical leave to employees whose family members are servicemembers and who are either called to active duty or who are injured while in active duty.  The NDAA has been in effect since being signed by President Bush in January 2008.  But, with the DOL’s publications of the final regulations, employers can expect to see more specific questions relating to leave under the NDAA.   

There is a new online resource to help employees who may be navigating leave under the military-caregiver provision of the NDAA.   The National Resource Directory, a collaborative effort between the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, is a Web-based network of care that includes resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them.  (Last week, in honor of Veteran’s Day, we posted about  similar initiative, America’s Heroes at Work, which provides employers with a variety of helpful information and tools to assist veterans in the reemployment process.)image

The scope of the Directory is comprehensive and includes information on topics such as available benefits, eligibility requirements, help filing claims and appeals processes.  Information on education and employment is also available, such as financial aid and scholarship information, apprentice and internship programs, and job training and placement.  Additionally, family support programs, child-care services, counseling and support group information is all available in the Family and Caregiver Support section. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will be the talk of the HR world next week when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), formally issues its new revised final regulations. The new regulations finally define the scope of two new types of FMLA leave that were created by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA). These two new kinds of leave, known as active-duty leave and military-caregiver leave, provide FMLA leave for the families of servicemembers called to active duty or injured in the line of duty. In an earlier post, (New FMLA Regulations Define Scope of Active-Duty Leave), we addressed the regulations dealing with active-duty leave.  Now we examine the regulations on military-caregiver leave.

The NDAA provides that “an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember shall be entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of leave during a [single] 12-month period to care for the servicemember.”   This type of leave is different from other forms of FMLA leave, including Active-Duty leave, in that it provides for up to 26 weeks of leave rather than 12 weeks.  In addition, the NDAA also provides that a covered servicemember’s “next of kin” is eligible to take FMLA leave to care for the servicemember.

Defining “Next of Kin”

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will be clarified when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), formally publishes new regulations on Monday, November 17, 2008. Among the many changes contained in the regulations, are provisions dealing with the recently enacted leave benefits for family members of both seriously injured or ill service members and National Guard and Reserve members who have been called to service.

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA). One section of the NDAA was an amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which created two new types of FMLA leave: Military Caregiver Leave and Active-Duty Leave. Although the NDAA became effective immediately following the President’s signature, the DOL announced that it would not look to enforce the Act until it issued regulations as long as an employer was attempting to comply with the NDAA “in good faith.” The new regulations apparently end this amnesty period.

Active-Duty Leave, as the name suggests, is triggered when the employee’s relative is called to active duty. It can be taken by employees spouse, parent, or child who is on or has been called to active duty in the Armed Forces. These workers may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave when they experience “any qualifying exigency.” The new regulations finally define what is a “qualifying exigency.”

This FMLA Update briefly reviews the second new type of FMLA leave offered to servicemembers and their families, Military-Caregiver Leave.

The two new FMLA leave types are designed to protect members of the Armed Forces and their families. Both types of leave enable a family member of a servicemember to take protected leave in two circumstances. The first, Active Duty Leave, was discussed in an earlier post. The second, is known as Military-Caregiver Leave. This new protection grants time off to the family member to care for a related servicemember who is ill or injured due to active duty.

• Employees may take an unprecedented 26 weeks of FMLA leave when a spouse, parent, child, or other blood relative for whom they are “next of kin” incurs a serious injury or illness on active duty in the Armed Forces.

The FMLA now provides two completely new categories of leave for employees who are related to a servicemember who is called to active duty or injured in the military.

The first type of leave is triggered when the employee’s relative is called to active duty. It is designed to enable servicemembers’ family to get FMLA time off to make the arrangements necessary for the servicemember’s departure. Below is a short summary of the need-to-know points for this first type of new FMLA leave.

Active-Duty Leave:

Our Annual Seminar for Employers was held today at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware. The attendance at the seminar was our best ever, with more than 130 of Delaware’s best human resource professionals, labor relations specialists, senior managers, and small business owners.

Our many thanks to The Honorable Mary Pat Thynge, who spoke candidly about the federal mediation process. Her comments were direct and insightful for everyone, including for the attorneys!

Another thanks to all of the attendees who completed and submitted a survey at the end of the day. We’re looking forward to reviewing your comments. Our objective is to make the seminar as effective and enjoyable as possible. Your opinion really tells us what we can do to better to maximize the client experience. We are especially interested to learn what topics most interest you for future seminars. If you were in attendance today but did not have an opportunity to submit an evaluation, just let us know and we’ll send you one that can be completed and returned electronically–no stamp necessary!

whd logo Now that President Bush has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers must update their FMLA postings.

Under the FMLA, all covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and telling employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no eligible employees.

A copy of the standard FMLA poster prepared by the Department (WH 1420) is available for posting in the workplace at the DOL’s website. The poster is also available in Spanish.

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