Senator Christopher Dodd, one of the original sponsors of the Family and Medical Leave Act, introduced a bill (S.1894) to amend the FMLA to permit family and non-family members up to 6 months of job-protected unpaid leave care for an injured combat veteran. The bill was introduced in reaction to the recent findings of the the Commission for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, chaired by former Senator Bob Dole.
The Commission found that 33 percent of active duty, 22 percent of reserve component, and 37 percent of retired/separated service members report that a family member or close friend relocated for extended periods of time to be with the injured combat veteran while they were in the hospital. The Commission also found that 21 percent of active duty, 15 percent of reserve component, and 24 percent of retired/separated service members say friends or family gave up a job to be with them or act as their caregivers. To address this situation, the Commission recommended extending the FMLA for up to 6 months for spouses and parents of seriously injured soldiers.
Not to be outdone, Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama, Joseph Biden, and Hillary Clinton quickly followed suit, announcing that they too would be introducing legalilation to extend the FMLA for spouses and parents of solders injured in combat. Senator Clinton's bill would permit up to 6 months of unpaid FMLA leave for this purpose. Upping the ante, the legislation proposed by Senators Obama and Biden would permit up to 1-year of leave.
Comment: Stay tuned. For obvious reasons, I believe that the FMLA is likely to be amended at some point for this purpose.