National Partnership for Women & Families

More Help for Military Families from the Family and Medical Leave Act, Thanks to the Obama Administration

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — January 30, 2012 —
"The announcement this morning by First Lady Michelle Obama and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, that the Department of Labor is issuing a new rule to allow military family caregivers to take leave before, during and after their loved ones' deployment, is terrific news for service members, their families and our country. An expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (FMLA’s) military family leave provisions, this rule will allow families to provide care to wounded service members without the stress and worry that they will lose a job when they do.

The new rule recognizes that illnesses and injuries can arise years after a service member returns home from duty — and that, at that time, the men and women who served their country need their family members to provide care. Providing job-protected time off for family members to provide that care is the humane, just and right thing to do.

The proposed rule also acknowledges that foreign deployments can wreak havoc on child care, elder care and other family arrangements, and that military spouses and children need to be able to take the time to ensure that their families are cared for.

We applaud the first lady and her Joining Forces initiative for all they do for military families. She said today, ‘Moms and dads spring into action… and children put on a brave face’ when duty calls. We commend the administration and the Department of Labor for recognizing that protecting family caregivers’ job security is critical to military families.

The FMLA is the foundation for this very welcome proposed new support for military families. Everyone should rally around this expansion, which should be implemented quickly and without opposition."

The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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