Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Family and Medical Leave Act Protections Expanded for Military Families and Airline Flight Crews
Final Rule to Implement Statutory Amendments
Since 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been a cornerstone of the U.S. Department of Labor’s effort to promote work-life balance. The FMLA provides workplace protections for employees living with a
serious health condition, or caring for a family member with a serious health condition and has helped millions of Americans balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of their families and their own health. In 2008 the FMLA was amended to provide employees with family members serving in the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves with FMLA leave for reasons related to their family members’ military service. In 2010 the FMLA was again amended, expanding the military-related leave protections. The FMLA was also amended to include a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees. The Department’s Wage and Hour Division issued a Final Rule to implement and interpret these statutory amendments.
Military families can find themselves facing great challenges. Caring for an injured service member, arranging for alternative childcare when a spouse is deployed to a foreign country, or attending arrival ceremonies when a loved one returns from a deployment may present family members with difficult decisions about time spent at work versus time spent with family. The FMLA helps to ease the burden that can come with needing time away from work when faced with such commitments.
In announcing this Final Rule, the Department of Labor is taking great steps toward protecting those families who have given so much of themselves to protect us. Provided that FMLA coverage and eligibility requirements are met, family members of current servicemembers and veterans will now have far greater abilities to attend to personal matters and medical needs related to their family members’ service.
Additionally, airline flight crew employees, with their unique work schedules, will have greater access to the benefits of the FMLA and a special method of calculating leave.