Veteran and Service Member Employment

Military Family Leave

You have a responsibility to provide leave to military family caregivers.

Military families can face significant challenges. Arranging for alternative childcare when a spouse is deployed to a foreign country or caring for an ill or injured service member may present military caregivers with difficult decisions about time spent at work versus with family. Your support of military family members goes hand in hand with supporting our nation’s service members.

Public sector employers and most private sector employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide eligible employees unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Eligible employees of covered employers can take up to 12 workweeks of family or medical leave in a 12-month period for certain reasons, one of which is any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that their spouse, child, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”

Furthermore, if the eligible employee is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of an ill or injured covered service member, they are entitled to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to provide care for the service member.

You may require an employee to submit certification supporting a request for qualifying exigency or military caregiver leave.

Military family smiling together on couch holding American flag

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about your responsibilities regarding unpaid leave may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisor:

VETS enforces USERRA and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). These agencies work together as appropriate to ensure fair treatment for America’s service members and veterans.


For additional assistance, please contact:

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor: 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243)

Our assistance is free and confidential.

Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.