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Labor Department Proposes More Coverage for Military Families

The Labor Department has submitted a proposal to increase coverage for military families under the Family Medical Leave Act. The Act grants employees up to 12 weeks of leave for personal or family medical leave.

The expanded rights for military families will cover families with relatives in all areas of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. Currently, the Family Medical Leave Act expire when a service member leaves the military, but under the new proposal, coverage will extend for five years. More than 193,000 military family members could be covered under the new rule, according to the Labor Department.

"Keeping the basic promise of America alive means ensuring that workers, from our servicemen and servicewomen who keep us safe at home to the flight crews who keep us safe in the skies, have the resources, support and opportunities they need and have rightfully earned," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said.

The Family Medical Leave Act is designed to prevent discrimination by employers to employees who take time off for a new baby or to care for a close family member who is ill. Over time, various reforms of the Act have expanded its coverage, including a 2010 change that prevents discrimination against mothers who need time to breastfeed their babies.

Taking time to care for family members is a right under this act. If you believe you were denied that right or discriminated against because you took advantage of it, the advice and help of an attorney can help you recover from the loss of money or employment opportunities.

Source: Bloomberg, "Families of U.S. Military Gain in Proposal to Expand Eligibility," William McQuellen, Jan 30, 2012.

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