The recent expansion of the FMLA does not apply equally to all federal employees. The amendment of the FMLA adds two new situations permitting non-civil service federal employees covered by Title I of the FMLA (DOL regulations) to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave: (1) because of a qualifying exigency (to be defined by the DOL) arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on or has been called to active duty; and to take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single year (2) to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin who was injured while on active military duty.
The legislation, in contrast, modifies Title II of the FMLA (OPM regulations) to permit civil service federal employees to take up to to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in the second situation only. The modification of Title II does not include leave because of a qualifying exigency due to active military duty. No explanation is provided for the distinction.
Comment: There are four federal sector variants of the FMLA that apply to different federal employees. While similar, the federal sector FMLA variants are not now nor have they ever been identical. To comply with the FMLA it is critical to know which variant of the FMLA applies in any given situation.