January 30th, 2012
03:07 PM ET
First Lady Michelle Obama spent Monday morning talking about one of her favorite causes, taking care of military families. She announced proposed changes to the Family Medical Leave Act that will help military families take care of service members and their kids when they are called up for active duty or are injured. In front of a crowd of military families and leaders at the U.S. Department of Labor, Mrs. Obama said the rules will "give more families support and flexibility" to take care of their loved ones.
The new proposal includes the creation of a special 26-week military caregiver leave entitlement, this would be an additional option to the 12-week leave currently available under the FMLA. The first lady said the rule "means that more caregivers can now provide support at a hospital for days or weeks at a time. They can help they loved ones make that transition back home. And they can do it all without worrying whether they will lose their job."
The new rule also includes veterans who have been discharged within the past 5 years. They too would be covered under this proposal, though the initial illness or injury must have been incurred while on active duty. This amends the current law which only covers family members of those currently serving in the military.
Another part of the proposal allows the families of regular active duty military who have recently been deployed to take up to 12 weeks to deal with child care, financial or legal issues. Previously this rule only included active duty National Guard and Reserves.
The proposals will have a 60 day public comment period before the final rule is implemented. Congress does not need to act for this rule to take effect.
For more information on the proposed revisions visit