Feds now can use their FMLA leave to arrange for childcare of a deployed relative's son or daughter, attend official ceremonies related to the service member's deployment, or make funeral arrangements if the service member is killed. (BRIAN LEPLEY / ARMY)
Federal employees can now use their Family and Medical Leave Act benefits — up to 12 weeks of leave each year — to help a family member who is in the military and deployed overseas, according to a March 5 memo issued by the Office of Personnel Management.
Feds now can use their FMLA leave to arrange for childcare of a deployed relative's son or daughter, attend official ceremonies related to the service member's deployment, or make funeral arrangements if the service member is killed. Employees can use sick or annual leave under FMLA, but if they run out, must take unpaid leave.
OPM said federal employees can take leave to:
• Attend military or American Red Cross family support or assistance programs related to the deployment.
• Enroll the service member's child in a new school or day care facility and attend meetings with school or day care staff.
• Meet with government agencies on behalf of the service member to obtain or appeal military benefits.
• Make or update financial or legal arrangements for the service member, such as preparing a will.
• Attend counseling for themselves, the service member, or for the service member's child, as long as the counseling is related to the deployment.
• Take care of a child when there is an urgent and immediate need, but not on a regular basis.
The employee must be a spouse, son, daughter or parent of a deployed service member to be eligible for leave.
Feds also can take up to 26 weeks of paid or unpaid leave per year to help a family member who is sick or injured as a result of previous active duty military service, OPM said.
Congress expanded employees' benefits under FMLA as part of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that was passed last fall.
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