FMLA Expansion in the Works for Deployed Military's Dependents

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment last week that would allow workers to use family and medical leave to deal with issues that arise from the deployment of a spouse, parent, or child to a combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan. The current FMLA law allows workers to use leave only for family illnesses or births.

The amendment was offered by U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., as an amendment to the FY2008 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 1585). "Ongoing military engagements and extended military deployments impact not only our troops, but also the families of our brave men and women in uniform," said Altmire. "Military families are trying to balance everything from their financial obligations to child care. I offered this amendment to help ease the burden on military families who are struggling to balance these new responsibilities during long deployments." The House passed H.R. 1585 on May 17 by a vote of 397-27.

"We owe it to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to do everything we can to ensure that their families are taken care of while they are risking their lives for our country," said Rep. George Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "This legislation would make a big difference in the lives of families who are struggling to balance the demands of work and home life while a parent or other loved one is deployed."

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