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Must we provide extended leave for employee to care for son wounded in the line of duty?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. One of our employees has requested medical leave to care for her 35-year-old son who was injured in combat duty. The employee indicated that she will probably need more than 12 weeks of leave. Do we have to give her more than 12 weeks of leave?

A. Yes, assuming you are subject to the FMLA, and this employee has met the prerequisites for FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, a covered employer must grant an employee up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next-of-kin who is a member of the armed forces and who is undergoing medical treatment or who is medically unfit to perform military duties due to an injury or illness that occurred while on active duty.

The FMLA’s age restrictions for leave relating to seriously ill children do not apply with regard to leave involving caring for a service member. If your employee is otherwise eligible for FMLA leave, she is entitled to up to a total of 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to care for the injured family member.

A serious injury warranting military-caregiver leave is one that was incurred by a service member in the line of active-duty military service that renders the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating.

The “single 12-month period” for leave begins on the first day the employee takes leave for this reason and ends 12 months later, regardless of the 12-month period established by the employer for other types of FMLA leave.

An employee eligible to take military-caregiver leave is limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave for any FMLA-qualifying reason during this single 12-month period.

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