Family and Medical Leave Act: Obama proposes new rules for military families

The Obama administration proposed new rules to be added to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which will benefit families of service members who are called to active duty or are injured, the Associated Press reported.

The new rules proposed would allow employees to take unpaid leave for certain medical or family reasons, which was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Monday. The rule would allow caregivers to take leave to care for family members up to five years after they leave the military. The law as of now only covers family members of those who are currently serving in the military, the AP reported.

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"We want to recognize the extraordinary dedication, sacrifice and service of our nation's caregivers, not simply with words but with deeds," Obama said during a Labor Department ceremony, the AP reported.

“Keeping the basic promise of America alive means ensuring that workers, from our servicemen and service women who keep us safe at home to the flight crews who keep us safe in the skies, have the resources, support and opportunities they need and have rightfully earned,” Solis said, Bloomberg reported.

The act was first passed in 1993 and has been revised several times since then. The latest proposal would allow family members to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to help a service member who’s been deployed on short notice, MSNBC reported. Family caregivers can attend military functions, deal with child care issues and update financial affairs during their unpaid leave.

More than 193,000 family members could be affected if the new rule is passed. The Labor Department estimated that 15,500 eligible employees will take 854,000 days, or 6.8 million hours of leave annually to take care of a veteran undergoing treatment, Bloomberg reported.

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