Military caregiver leave allows eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a family member (spouse, son or daughter, parent, next of kin) who is a covered service member/veteran with a serious injury or illness. Military caregiver leave is available to an eligible employee once per service member, per serious injury or illness.
The “next of kin” of a covered service member/veteran is the nearest blood relative, other than the veteran’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority:
- a blood relative who has been designated in writing by the service member as the next of kin for FMLA purposes
- blood relative who has been granted legal custody of the service member
- brothers and sisters
- aunts and uncles
- first cousins
A veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness is a cover ed veteran if he or she:
- was a member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves)
- was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
- was discharged within the five -year period before the eligible employee first takes FMLA military caregiver leave to care for him or her
A serious injury or illness is one that is incurred by a service member while on active duty that may cause the service member to be medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating. A serious injury or illness also includes injuries or illnesses that existed before the service member’s active duty and that were aggravated by service while on active duty.