FMLA FOR FAMILY MILITARY SITUATIONS
MEMBER ALERT! OPM finally issued regulations spelling out when federal employees are entitled to use FMLA leave to deal with military-related situations in the family. Family includes an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent. The specific situations for which leave are allowed are called “qualifying exigencies” (5CFR 630.1204) and are paraphrased below.
1. To address any issue that arises from the fact that a covered military member is notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty 7 or fewer calendar days prior to the date of deployment.
2. To attend any official ceremony, program, or event sponsored by the military that is related to the covered active duty of a covered military member:
3. To attend family support or assistance programs and informational briefings sponsored or promoted by the military, military service organizations, or the American Red Cross that are related to the covered active duty status of the family member.
4. To arrange for alternative childcare when the active duty of a covered military member necessitates a change in the existing childcare arrangement for a child, including to provide childcare on an urgent, immediate need basis, to enroll in or transfer to a new school or day care facility a child, and to attend meetings with staff at a school or a daycare facility.
5. To make or update financial or legal arrangements to address the covered military member’s absence while on covered active duty, such as preparing and executing financial and health care powers of attorney, transferring bank account signature authority, enrolling in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), obtaining military identification cards, or preparing or updating a will or living trust.
6. To act as the covered military member’s representative before a Federal, State, or local agency for purposes of obtaining, arranging, or appealing military service benefits.
7. To attend counseling provided by someone other than a health care provider for oneself, for the covered military member, or for a child.
8. To spend time with a covered military member who is on short-term, temporary, rest and recuperation leave during the period of deployment. Eligible employees may take up to 5 days of leave for each instance of rest and recuperation.
9. To attend arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings and events, and any other official ceremony or program sponsored by the military for a period of 90 days following the termination of the active duty status.
10. To address issues that arise from the death of a covered military member while on covered active duty status, such as meeting and recovering the body of the covered military member and making funeral arrangements.
11. To address other events that arise out of the covered military member’s covered active duty, provided that the agency and employee agree that such leave qualifies as an exigency, and that they agree to both the timing and duration of such leave.
Federal employees can take this leave all at once or intermittently as needed. As with other FMLA leave, the employee is not required to have annual or sick leave available to cover the FMLA period. The employee can take LWOP.
If you or someone you know is interested in exercising this right, check out the form OPM recommends agencies use, and be sure to check with the local union rep if you have questions or run into resistance. If you know of any “other events” not listed above tell the union rep so that the union can initiate bargaining with the agency to get that situation covered.