OPM announced that it plans to issue final regulations implementing the military family leave amendments to Title II of the FMLA. The military family leave amendments to Title II were included in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2008. The amendments provide eligible employees up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave, and amend the advanced sick leave regulations to allow the use of sick leave for military caregiver leave. OPM issued proposed military family leaver regulations on August 26, 2009.
Notably, the OPM indicated hat it will also be proposing changes to the existing sick leave and FMLA leave regulations "to enhance reader understanding and administration of these programs." OPM expects final action on the FMLA regulations to be completed by April 2010.
Comment: I do not expect OPM to issue the final military family leave regulations on or by April 2010. Generally, and as a matter of statute, OPM follows the DOL lead when it comes to FMLA regulations. The most recent amendment of the FMLA in the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act modified military family leave in several ways. I expect that DOL will issue proposed regulations to implement these changes. OPM will issue its own proposed military family leave regulations thereafter.
I also believe that OPM will hold back on issuing proposed changes to the existing FMLA regulations. The DOL announced in the Unified Agenda its intention to review the military family leave regulations, as well as the many changes made to the existing FMLA regulations in the last month of the Bush administration. As a matter of statute, OPM's Title II FMLA regulations generally follow the DOL FMLA regulations. As such, OPM will likely wait until DOL finishes its review of the existing Title I regulations before it makes any changes to its existing Title II FMLA regulations.