Department Of Labor Expands Military Protections Of FMLA

On February 6, 2013, the Department of Labor announced a final rule that will expand protection for military service members’ families under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  The final rule, which can be found here, takes effect on March 8, 2013. 

The final rule makes the following major changes to the FMLA:

  • Defining “covered service member” to include certain veterans.
  • Defining a “serious injury or illness” of a covered veteran to constitute any one of four enumerated alternatives, creating a flexible definition of the term.
  • Permitting FMLA eligible employees to obtain certifications from any health care provider authorized to provide certifications under the FMLA, not just Department of Defense affiliated providers as previously required.
  • Replacing the existing definition of “active duty” with two new definitions, “covered active duty” for regular armed forces members and “covered active duty or call to covered active duty” for reserve members, both of which require deployment in a foreign country.
  • Increasing “exigency leave” for rest and recuperation from 5 to 15 calendar days.

In order to ensure compliance with the new rule, employers subject to the FMLA should consult with legal counsel to update their handbooks and FMLA leave policies, as may be necessary


As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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