New Leave Plan for Military Family Members Will Help Parents Cope

military familtyThe Obama administration released some updated rules today regarding military family leave, and the news seems to be positive. Now, under a section of the Family and Medical Leave Act, family members are allowed to take up to 12 weeks leave from work if a family member is deployed with short notice. Family members were also granted access to up to 26 weeks leave from work if they need to care for recent veterans who are either ill or wounded. 

It sounds like this is a real win for parents who are suddenly left to be single parents without much notice when their spouse is deployed. With 12 weeks of leave, a lot of reorganizing can be done when it comes to child care issues. And to be able to do so without the stress of losing one's job has got to be a great benefit.


First Lady Michelle Obama explained the thought-process behind the new rules:

We want to recognize the extraordinary dedication, sacrifice, and service of our nation's caregivers, not simply with words but with deeds.

While the extended leave is not a cure-all, it seems like a welcome gift to families with servicemen or women. In addition, it used to be that leave was only allowed if the military person was currently serving, but now family members are allowed to take off up to five years after their loved one has returned from deployment if need be.

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Although the leave is unpaid, it certainly must be a weight off one's back to know that you can take the time you need to either adjust to life without your loved one (who's been deployed) or with your loved one who's returned either ill or injured. In this economy, job security might even be more important than 12 weeks' salary -- just knowing you can go back to work is close to half the battle.

The last bit of good news on the subject is that family members can now take 15 days off, as opposed to the five they were formally allowed, to spend time with a service member who's home for a short while to recuperate.

It's election season and we've been inundated with slanderous ads, bizarre debates, and a lackluster State of the Union, but it's nice to read about something that will positively influence the lives of military families. They deserve all the support, and the time, we can give them.

What do you think of the new rules regarding military family leave?


Photo via The California National Guard/Flickr

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