A new proposal from the Labor Department in Washington, D.C. aims to increase support for those taking care of wounded, injured and ill service members as part of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
First Lady Michelle Obama, backed by senior military leaders, like Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, proposed rules on January 30, 2012 to help caregivers take time off before, during and after conditions arise with their loved one, without the fear of repercussions. According to Labor Department statistics, this proposal could help 15,500 eligible employees take the time needed to help their veteran, with over 193,000 family members being covered by the changed rule.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enacted in 1993, allows eligible employees of covered employers to take job-protected, unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons. The proposal will:
- Extend the 26 week unpaid leave entitlement to family members caring for veterans with serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty, including conditions that may arise up to five years after leaving the military.
- Allow family members to take time off from work before, during or after a parent, spouse or child’s deployment to tend to service-related matters, such as making financial/legal arrangements or military briefings.
- Increase the amount of time an employee can take to spend with a loved one on recuperation or rest from five days to fifteen days.
Obama said “We are going to work every day until every last one of you feels the pride and honor that this entire country feels. As long as we all keep joining forces to support these amazing families, we will be able to serve all of you as well as you’ve served us.”