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New National Defense Authorization Act Brings More FMLA Amendments

October 30, 2010

On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (NDAA 2010). Among many other provisions, the Act contains additional changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as it relates to military servicemembers and their families.

Key FMLA changes under the NDAA 2010 include:

  • "Covered active duty" for purposes of FMLA now includes deployment to a foreign country in addition to contingency operations;
  • Members of the regular components of the armed forces are now eligible for "qualifying exigency" leave under the FMLA, like their reservist counterparts;
  • Leave to care for an injured servicemember is expanded to apply to care of certain veterans in addition to current members of the armed services; and
  • Leave to care for an injured servicemember is expanded to cover existing or pre-existing conditions that were aggravated in the line of duty, rather than just injuries or illnesses that were first incurred in the line of duty.

The FMLA was most recently amended by the National Defense Authorization of 2008. Comprehensive revised FMLA regulations also just became effective in January 2009.

The lengthy NDAA 2010 can be viewed in its entirety through the U.S. Government Printing Office website.

If you require any assistance in understanding and complying with the Act's new provisions, please contact Stephanie Setterington or another member of Varnum's Labor and Employment Practice Team.

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