Benefits

Parental Leave Now Mandated Under Military Exigency FMLA

The Final FMLA rule makes four changes (or clarifications) to the listed qualifying exigencies, says Schoenfeld, Senior Legal Editor on BLR’s human resources team.

  • Clarifies that, for the purposes of leave for childcare and school activities, the child must be the military member’s child or a child for whom the military member stands in loco parentis;
  • Increases the number of days taken for Rest and Recuperation leave from 5 to 15 days;
  • Adds “attending funeral services” to the list of covered post-deployment activities; and
  • Adds parental care as a new category to the list of covered qualifying exigencies.

Parental Leave Is Brand New

Under new Sec. 825.126(8), the Final Rule grants FMLA leave time for the employee to care for a parent of the military member when the parent is incapable of self-care and the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member necessitates a change in the existing care arrangement for the parent.

As with leave for the serious health condition of a family member, the parent must be the military member’s biological, adoptive, step, or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the military member when the member was under 18 years of age. As with all instances of qualifying exigency leave, the military member must be the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee requesting qualifying exigency leave.


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The Final Rule grants parental FMLA leave time under the qualifying exigency provision for the employee to:

  • Arrange for alternative care for a parent of the military member;
  • Provide care for a parent of the military member on an urgent, immediate need basis (but not on a routine, regular, or everyday basis) when the parent is incapable of self-care and the need to provide such care arises from the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member;
  • Admit to or transfer to a care facility a parent of the military member when admittance or transfer is necessitated by the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member; and
  • Attend meetings with staff at a care facility, such as meetings with hospice or social service providers for a parent of the military member, when such meetings are necessary due to circumstances arising from the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member but not for routine or regular meetings.

Effective Dates

The regulatory changes contained in the Final Rule took  effect March 8, 2013 (30 days from the date the Final Rule was published), including an eligible employee’s entitlement to take military caregiver leave to care for certain veterans.

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