Tuesday, January 29, 2008

President Bush signs bill amending the FMLA

President Bush has signed the National Defense Authorization Act that he had previously vetoed. Its changes to the FMLA go into effect immediately.

As amended by the NDAA, the FMLA now permits a "spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin" to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a "member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness." It also permits an employee to take FMLA leave for "any qualifying exigency ... arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation." The DOL will define "qualifying exigency" in subsequent regulations.

According to the DOL, employers are required to act in good faith in providing FMLA leave under these circumstances while it works to prepare comprehensive guidance on rights and responsibilities under this new legislation.

The Department of Labor's website has available for download the full text of the FMLA, as amended by the NDAA.