NDAA and the FMLA

When President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) late last year, the rights of military personnel under the Family and Medical Leave Act were expanded to include more categories of military personnel and their families. If you are among the many members of the military stationed in Georgia, your rights may have been expanded by this new law.

Over the past couple of years, Congress has passed several amendments to the FMLA which affect members of the military and their families. Among them were amendments which permit eligible family members of members in the National Guard and Reserves to take leave for some emergencies, and for eligible family members to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a member of the regular Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves with a “serious injury or illness” incurred in the line of duty, and under certain circumstances.

The new amendment now allows qualified families to take an FMLA leave to take care of military family member who is stationed overseas and/ or is a member of the Reserves or National Guard, as well as active members of the regular military. This is an expansion of FMLA rights to the families of all service members who are stationed overseas. Previously, those rights were only given to family members whose military kin were actually deployed in a hostile region.

The NDAA also expands other rights of military personnel. The law now includes pre- existing conditions that were aggravated by an injury in the line of duty. It also extends caregiver leave rights to veterans who are undergoing ongoing treatment, and whose injury took place less than five years ago.

Other provisions redefine “injury” in some esoteric ways.

The Obama administration keeps expanding the rights of military members and their families under a number of new laws and amendments to existing laws. If you or a family member are in the armed services and stationed at a military base in Georgia, you should take the time to consult with an employment attorney.