Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How the Family and Medical Leave Act Fails Veterans and Military Families
Press Release

RELEASE: How the Family and Medical Leave Act Fails Veterans and Military Families

Washington, D.C. — It has been 14 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was last amended to provide targeted protections to support military families and caregivers. A new Center for American Progress issue brief examines why these amendments did not go far enough. This brief also makes the case for why Congress should expand the FMLA to ensure that those who serve or have served have time to address the impacts of their service on themselves and their families.

Supporting service members and their families both during and after their service is an investment in recruitment and retention. This issue brief examines how strengthening policies that support current and former service members and their families can help shape the way the next generation views the military and their choices to serve. Some policy recommendations for strengthening support for military and veteran families may include:

  • Allowing leave for military family members in connection with domestic military service such as natural disasters or other emergencies.
  • Expanding coverage for deployment-related leaves to the domestic partner of a service member.
  • Expanding the definition of family caregivers to include chosen family.
  • Adding an amendment that allows extended time for veterans who are ill or injured as a result of their military service.

“Those who serve and their families make countless sacrifices for their country,” said Molly Weston Williamson, senior fellow for the Women’s Initiative and author of the issue brief. “They should not also be forced to sacrifice their jobs to deal with the consequences of answering the call to service. It is time to further expand the FMLA’s protection to better meet the needs of service members, veterans, and those who love and care for them.”

Read the issue brief: “How the Family and Medical Leave Act Fails Veterans and Military Families” by Molly Weston Williamson

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at snadeau@americanprogress.org.

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