SHRM Weighs In on Leave for Military Families
Expanded leave benefits for military families is on its way to becoming federal law -- and soon. Since the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors recommended extending the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for up to 6 months for family members to care for an injured service member, Congress has been developing proposals based on the bipartisan Commission's recommendation. Now, a variety of legislative plans are being considered for enactment.
SHRM is at the center of this issue. Echoing Congress' desire to provide additional leave for military families, SHRM member and Employee Relations Special Expertise Panelist Christine Vion-Gillespie, SPHR, testified before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections this week. The hearing topic was "The Family and Medical Leave Act: Extending Coverage to Families Left Behind."
Vion-Gillespie, pictured on the left reviewing her testimony with Lisa Horn of SHRM's Government Affairs department, told the Subcommittee that providing leave benefits for military families is a desirable goal, but current laws also need to be amended to balance the needs of employers and employees. For example, a number of the military leave proposals before Congress build upon the Family and Medical Leave Act. In her testimony, Vion-Gillespie explained the challenges that HR professionals encounter with current FMLA rules.
"Employees called to active duty, along with their families, face difficult and unique challenges that need to be addressed," said Vion-Gillespie. "At the same time, we have an obligation to provide all employees and employers with clear, predictable and practical leave requirements that correct rather than exacerbate current frustrations."
SHRM shares the Bush Administration's and Congress' objective of providing military families additional work flexibility. We are continuing to work with policy makers to craft an effective solution that meets the needs of military service members, their employee caregivers, and employers. To read SHRM's testimony, please click