The Department of Labor created the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help individuals cope with family emergencies. FMLA entitles qualified employees to take job-protected leaves of absence for certain family and medical emergencies.
For many years family and medical leave was only allowed for families of National Guard members, but changes since 2008 have greatly expanded the qualifying service members and employers.
There are many misconceptions about what this leave can and should be used for. While some believe this time is only available if you need to care for an injured service member, there are a number of military related absences that are covered.
Exigency leave is designed to help a service member’s family deal with the logistical problems that arise with a transition to deployment. Military-sponsored functions, organizing financial and legal arrangements as well as finding childcare all qualify as exigency leave that is covered by the federal government.
Parents, spouses and children of active duty or reserve service members are allowed to take up to 12 weeks out of any 12-month period to solve these issues on leave without fear of losing their job.
The other main type of leave is known as caregiver leave. Caregiver leave differs in three main ways from exigency leave: reasoning, length and eligibility.
The name sums up the main difference in caregiver leave. Family and Medical leave is award to individuals taking care of a service member who is:
Parents, spouses, children and next of kin qualify for caregiver leave. These caregivers may take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to help out.
In addition to the main types of leave, any absences approved by your employer for a military-related reason can be covered under this leave as well. This ensures hardworking military families helping out a service member can continue to do so without fear of losing their job no matter what life throws their way.