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What is military service qualifying exigency under FMLA?

Workers in Iowa who have family members who are in military service will often be worried about how potential demands for time off will affect their work. The Family and Medical Leave Act has a stipulation that an eligible worker can use FMLA if there is a qualifying exigency. When seeking to take time off from work and have the job protected, it is important to understand how FMLA protects these individuals.

To use FMLA, the eligible employee must have a spouse, offspring or parent who is a covered military member on active duty, is call to covered active duty or was notified that there is an impending call to covered active duty and it will be in a foreign country. It must be a federal call. A state call will not be covered except in circumstances in which it stems from an order by the president. A specific form - "Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave" - must be given to the employee's supervisor.

There are certain situations that will be considered a qualifying exigency. A short notice deployment means that the worker will use FMLA to deal with issues related to the call to serve in a foreign country if it arises seven or fewer calendar days before deployment. This leave can be taken for seven calendar days from the date the service member has been informed of the call to duty.

Other exigencies are: military events; childcare and school activities including arranging childcare and transferring a child to a new school; arranging financial and legal necessities; to receive counseling for the family member, the military member or a child; for rest and recuperation; for activities after the family member has been deployed, such as an arrival ceremony, to deal with a military service member's death, and for other reasons; for parental care if the service member cannot care for him or herself; and other activities.

Having a loved one who is in the armed forces can be difficult for the family member. There are certain inherent issues that will arise when the service member must venture to a foreign land as part of his or her service, such as caring for children and addressing basic matters. Caring for an injured service member or dealing with their death are other situations that can arise. FMLA gives people who have a loved one in this situation the right to take time off if it is needed, provided they are eligible. If there is a problem with getting this time off, it is important to understand the legal rights and how to handle FMLA violations.

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