President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, part of which amends the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") to allow two new types of leave for employees who are relatives of members of the Armed Services. The first type of leave allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave for a "qualifying exigency" (which was not defined in the law) due to the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent on active duty in support of a specified military operation. The second type of leave allows an employee to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for an injured, disabled or recuperating service member who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the employee. The new law also addresses the administration of the new leaves as well as the circumstances under which paid leave may satisfy the new requirements. The new law is effective January 28,2008 so employers should immediately decide how such leave requests will be handled.
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