Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) today introduced the Military Family Leave Act, which will more fully protect the rights of military families. The Military Family Leave Act allows those who are not currently protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and whose loved ones have received notification of impending active military duty, to spend time with and support their family members. The bill provides for two weeks unpaid leave in the event of a deployment.
"FMLA has been an incredibly important part of the lives of working Americans," said Rep. Carnahan. "However, protections extend far beyond the maternity and paternity leaves that are often associated with the law. They include protections for our military servicemembers and their families. Unfortunately, there is a hole in FMLA that results in some military families not being able to see their loved ones off when they deploy for service. My bill will fix that and help improve the readiness, lives and morale of our military and their families."
Under provisions added to Family and Medical Leave Act by the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act, parents, children, and spouses of military personnel are allowed 12 weeks of leave if a family member is notified of impending active duty in support of a contingency operation. However, it excludes many individuals, such as those who work part time or are employed by a company with fewer than 50 employees.
The Military Family Leave Act creates two workweeks of unpaid military family leave for employees that are exempted under the current law. The Military Family Leave Act strikes an important balance to ensure that the needs of all military families are met, regardless of their employment situation, while also protecting the economic viability of American small businesses.
The Military Family Leave Act is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA); Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY); Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA); Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC); Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA); Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA).
This bill continues Congressman Carnahan's commitment to working and military families. Earlier today, Rep. Carnahan was honored by being named "Best of Congress" by Corporate Voices for Working Families and Working Mother Media, for the third straight session of Congress. Rep. Carnahan was recognized for his leadership in improving the lives of working families.