Salute to Spouses Blog

We're excited to be blogging about the latest topics in military life. We want to keep you informed on topics such as current events, education, career advice, etc. Feel free to post comments or questions to any of our entries.
Need time off from work to care for an injured spouse?

The official injured count from Iraq and Afghanistan is 32,226. That number accounts only for injuries sustained on the battlefield. It does account for the thousands more who are suffering from injuries sustained during battle but not considered serious enough to send home from war. Some estimates put that number as high as 900,000 service members.

In turn, that means there are a lot of spouses who are taking time away from their own jobs to shuttle their injured service member to appointments and surgeries.

While a service member still on active duty will not see a dip in pay during treatment, the federal requirements are no friend to their civilian spouses.

Currently there is no legal federal requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave. Companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, those that employ 50 or more employees, are entitled to job-protected time off under that program, but, it is still unpaid.

The law allows for

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying emergency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”

Also the FMLA specifically addresses military caregiver leave. It allows for 26 work weeks of leave during a single, 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.

Again, this is unpaid leave. However, it dictates that your job is protected while you are gone and that you continue to receive health insurance benefits.

Many employers may require that you take any accumulated vacation days before your FMLA time begins.

Also, under the rule the employee must have been employed with the company for 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months.

The most important part of FMLA? Talk to your HR department. Keep them updated, ask questions. Make sure you understand all the rules and fill out the correct paperwork.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

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