Under the new law, an eligible employee can take up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin who is a service member with a "serious illness or injury" (the specifications for this are defined in the new law) incurred while on active duty.
It also permits eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period for "any qualifying exigency" that arises from a spouse's, child's, or parent's active duty in the Armed Forces. The Department of Labor will be issuing guidelines as to what a "qualifying exigency" encompasses.
The changes to the FMLA law are in addition to the existing reasons why an eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave each year. These include:
- The birth of a child (and to care for such child)
- The placement of a child for adoption or foster care
- Caring for a spouse or immediate family member with a "serious health condition"
- Where an employee has a serious health condition such that they are unable to work