FMLA Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave
The Federal government expanded the eligible events under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include two provisions applicable to military families. The following is a brief summary of these provisions. Additional eligibility requirements may apply.
Military Caregiver Leave allows up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to be granted to an eligible employee to provide care to an injured covered service member who is the eligible employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or eligible ‘next of kin’.
‘Next of Kin’ means the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority:
- Blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered service member by court decree or statutory provisions,
- brothers and sisters,
- aunts and uncles, then
- first cousins
If the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA then that individual is deemed to be the servicemember’s or veteran’s only FMLA next of kin. When no such designation is made, and there are multiple family members with the same level of relationship to the covered service member, all such family members shall be considered the covered service member’s next of kin and may take FMLA leave to provide care to the covered service member, either consecutively or simultaneously. When such designation has been made, the designated individual shall be deemed to be the covered service member’s only next of kin.
The 26 weeks is inclusive of the 12 weeks of leave already provided under regular FMLA. This leave can only be used once and must be used within one 12-month period. Although the leave is unpaid, the employee may use available leave to remain in pay status for all or part of the absence. The employee may choose to exhaust available sick and/or vacation/bonus leave, or any portion, or go on LWOP to care for an injured family member. Voluntary Shared Leave donations may be applied to Military Caregiver Leave.
Qualifying Exigency Leave allows up to 12 weeks of leave to be granted to an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of a service member who is placed on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty so that the eligible employee may attend to any of the following ‘qualifying exigencies’:
- Family preparations resulting from a short notice of deployment
- Military events and related activities
- Childcare and school activities affected by the deployment
- Financial and legal arrangements affected by the deployment
- Counseling related to the deployment
- Time with service member during rest and recuperation leave
- Post-deployment activities
- Additional activities related to the active duty or call to active duty agreed to by employee and employer.
Additional details regarding eligibility under these qualifying exigencies is available on the FMLA Rules & Regulations Excerpts document (see below).
The 12 weeks is not in addition to the regular 12 weeks of leave available for other FMLA purposes. Although the leave is unpaid, the employee may use available leave to remain in pay status for all or part of the absence. The employee may use vacation/bonus leave, or any portion, or go on LWOP to deal with issues arising because the family member is on active duty or has been called to active duty. Voluntary Shared Leave donations cannot be applied to Qualifying Exigency Leave.
Step 1: Communication
- Notify your supervisor of your need for Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave and discuss your proposed leave schedule prior to completing the required forms.
- Work with your department to create a transition plan to cover essential job functions during your absence.
Step 2: Forms
- Complete a Family & Medical Leave Request Form and the appropriate certification form:
- Military Caregiver for a Current Servicemember, Form WH-385
- Military Caregiver Leave for a Veteran, Form WH-385-V (Updated 7/20/20)
- Qualifying Exigency, Form WH-384 (Updated 7/20/20)
- Submit the forms to the Benefits & Leave Administration unit in the Office of Human Resources.
- Email the forms to email@example.com.
- Fax the forms to 919-962-6010, Attention “Leave”
- Mail the forms to Benefits & Leave Administration, CB1045
Step 3: Approval Process
- Requests for Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave will be processed once the required documentation is received by the Benefits & Leave Administration unit.
- The Benefits & Leave Administration unit will review your documentation and communicate with you and your department regarding the status of your request for Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave.
Step 4: What to Expect After Your is Approved
- Once your request for Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave is approved, your FMLA time will be entered and tracked in the Time Information Management (TIM) system by your departmental TIM Administrator.
- Please notify the Benefits & Leave Administration unit when you return to work or when your need for Military Caregiver/Qualifying Exigency Leave ends.
- Should you have any questions about your request, you may call the Benefits & Leave Administration unit at 919-962-3071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.