- Missouri Employment Law Info Site – TimsLaw.com - http://www.timslaw.com -
FMLA’s 26 week Servicemember Family Leave entitlement
In 2008 FMLA was amended to add a Servicemember Family Leave entitlement.
FYI – See also my main FMLA article.
You can get the Servicemember leave entitlement if you are a next of kin, or if you are a spouse, parent or child of the Servicemember.
The new Servicemember leave entitlement is 26 weeks. BUT, you don’t get BOTH the 26 weeks to care for a Servicemember, AND the 12 weeks for the traditional FMLA reasons — you get a max of 26 weeks during a year in which you care for a Servicemember. So if you use 12 weeks for yourself, and then you have to care for a Servicemember, you only have 14 weeks left.
It appears you can only use the Servicemember leave during one single 12 month period. It does not appear that you can claim a second Servicemember leave for the next year, even if your Servicemember still needs care. To quote from the law:” (3) SERVICEMEMBER FAMILY LEAVE.—Subject to section 103, an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember shall be entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for the servicemember. The leave described in this paragraph shall only be available during a single 12-month period.”
We do not know for sure whether you can take a second Servicemember leave during a future year, if your Servicemember incurs a different qualifying event.
Your right to take leave to care for a Servicemember is NOT absolute – A “Qualifying Exigency” must occur. We do not yet know what all the qualifying exigencies will be, but they will probably be limited to servicemembers who become incapacitated by war, or get sick or injured while in a war zone, or get sick or injured while preparing to go to the war zone.
The government has not yet published a list of approved “Qualifying Exigencies”.
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Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association. Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City. He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.
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