Parental Leave Is Brand New

The Final FMLA rule makes four changes (or clarifications) to the listed qualifying exigencies. The rule:

  • Clarifies that, for the purposes of leave for child care and school activities, the child must be the military member's child or a child for whom the military member stands in loco parentis;
  • Increases the number of days taken for Rest and Recuperation leave from 5 to 15 days;
  • Adds "attending funeral services" to the list of covered post-deployment activities; and
  • Adds parental care as a new category to the list of covered qualifying exigencies.

Under new Sec. 825.126(8), the Final Rule grants FMLA leave time for the employee to care for a parent of the military member when the parent is incapable of self-care and the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the military member necessitates a change in the existing care arrangement for the parent.

As with leave for the serious health condition of a family member, the parent must be the military member's biological, adoptive, step, or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the military member when the member was under 18 years of age. With all instances of qualifying exigency leave, the military member must be the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee requesting qualifying exigency leave.