Campus News

New law gives employees leave if relatives injured while on active duty

A new federal law gives families of service members injured while on active duty up to 26 weeks of leave time off of work to care for their injured relatives. To be eligible for this leave, individuals must meet eligibility criteria for the Family and Medical Leave Act.

H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act, amended Title I of the FMLA of 1993. Under the new law, any “spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin” may take up to 26 weeks of leave within a single 12-month period to care for a family member in the Armed Forces who is “undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness.”

At UGA, employees can use a combination of paid leave (sick and annual) to care for injured relatives, as described above. If all paid leave has been used, employees can take unpaid leave. “The new law is essentially an umbrella that offers job protection to employees who need time off to care for a relative suffering a war-time injury,” said Kathryn Chetney, who works in faculty and staff relations in Human Resources. “Military family leave will be granted, as needed, to employees who meet the eligibility requirements for FMLA.” 

More information on H.R. 4986 is available online (