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Proposed Leave Rule Would Provide for Warrior Care

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2009 – Defense Department federal employees could receive up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a military family member injured in the line of duty if an Office of Personnel Management proposal is adopted.

The proposal would allow eligible federal employees to take 26 "administrative work weeks" provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a servicemember wounded in the line of duty, OPM officials explained during a telephone conference call.

The provision would extend to families of National Guard members or reservists injured while on active duty, explained Jerry Mikowicz, OPM deputy associate director for pay and leave administration.

To qualify, the federal employee must be the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember declared medically unfit to serve, he said.

The OPM proposal also would allow agencies to advance up to 30 days of sick leave to federal workers who care for wounded military family members.

OPM also has recommended other sick-leave regulation changes to help agencies better plan for outbreaks of pandemic influenza or other serious communicable diseases.

The proposed rule would allow for agencies to advance up to 13 days of sick leave to care for a family member who has been exposed to a serious communicable disease and who health authorities say would jeopardize others' health. Federal employees also could receive up to 30 days of advanced sick leave if they are exposed to or stricken by a communicable disease that could be further spread in the workplace, Mikowicz said.

The OPM proposals were published in yesterday's Federal Register, and the public will have 60 days to comment on them.

OPM officials will review the comments before issuing a final rule, which will proceed through the regulatory process required before it is implemented, Mikowicz said.

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Related Sites:
Special Report: Warrior Care
Office of Personnel Management

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