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Wage and Hour Division

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

(Revised February 2013) (PDF)

Fact Sheet #28M: The Military Family Leave Provisions under the Family and Medical Leave Act

The military family leave provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitle eligible employees of covered employers to take FMLA leave for any “qualifying exigency” arising from the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with the Armed Forces, or to care for a servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin.

QUALIFYING EXIGENCY LEAVE

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period for qualifying exigencies that arise when the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty.

Covered active duty means:

  • for members of the Regular Armed Forces, duty during deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country; or
  • for members of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces (members of the National Guard and Reserves), duty during deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country under a call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation.

Deployment to a foreign country includes deployment to international waters.

Qualifying exigencies for which an employee may take FMLA leave include making alternative child care arrangements for a child of the deployed military member, attending certain military ceremonies and briefings, or making financial or legal arrangements to address the military member’s absence. See Fact Sheet 28M(c), Qualifying Exigency Leave, for additional information about qualifying exigencies under the FMLA.

MILITARY CAREGIVER LEAVE

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a “single12-month period” to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness. The employee must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered servicemember.

A covered servicemember is either:

  • a current member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is in outpatient status, or is on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness, or
  • a veteran of the Armed Forces (including the National Guard or Reserves) discharged within the five-year period before the family member first takes military caregiver leave to care for the veteran and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a qualifying serious injury or illness. A veteran who was dishonorably discharged does not meet the FMLA definition of a covered servicemember.

For a current servicemember, a serious injury or illness is one that may render the servicmember medically unfit to perform his or her military duties. For a veteran, a serious injury or illness is one that rendered the veteran medically unfit to perform his or her military duties, or an injury or illness that qualifies the veteran for certain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs or substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to work. For veterans, it includes injuries or illnesses that were incurred or aggravated during military service but that did not manifest until after the veteran left active duty.

See Fact Sheets 28M(a), Military Caregiver Leave for a Current Servicemember under the FMLA, and 28M(b), Military Caregiver Leave for Veteran under the FMLA, for additional information on these provisions, including the definition of a serious injury or illness for a covered servicemember, and certification requirements. See also the “Employee’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act” and the “Employee’s Guide to Military Family Leave ” for additional information, including the employee’s requirement to provide notice of their need for leave .

ENFORCEMENT

It is unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided by the FMLA. It is also unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any proceeding, related to the FMLA. See Fact Sheet 77B: Protections for Individuals under the FMLA . The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering and enforcing the FMLA for most employees. Most federal and certain congressional employees are also covered by the law but are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or Congress. If you believe that your rights under the FMLA have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division or file a private lawsuit against your employer in court.

For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

This publication is for general information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of position contained in the regulations.

For Information on the effective date, click here.