House Approves FMLA Expansion for Military Families

December 14, 2007 ( - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the National Defense Authorization Act - an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include family members of military personnel.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), H.R. 1585   provides for FMLA-protected leave to workers who provide care to U.S. soldiers wounded in the line of duty and to the immediate family members of military reservists called to active duty.

The bill would require employers to give 26 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who are caring for wounded family members and 12 weeks of FMLA leave to a spouse, child, or parent of any reservist or member of the National Guard who is called to active duty. Employees could take leave in increments of the shortest time period tracked by an employer’s payroll system, SHRM said.

The measure does not include an effective date for the provisions, as members of Congress have said they are aware that employers would need time to prepare for implementation, and the Department of Labor has stated it will need time to draft appropriate regulations.

Sources familiar with the issue told SHRM the Senate should approve the legislation quickly. The White House also has indicated that President Bush would sign the measure, according to the news report.