Military Leave

Rob Wiley: My name is Rob Wiley and today I'm going to be speaking with Austin Employment Lawyer Collin Walsh about military leave and issues surrounding the care of service members. So starting off let's say that, you're in a family and your spouse is deployed and is injured in the service of our country and comes back and you need to take time off of work to care for your spouse who is injured. What kind of rights do you have to take leave from your employer to be able to care for your spouse?

Colin Walsh: Well that leave is going to be protected by the Family Medical Leave Act, and what that law says is that you get up to 26 weeks to care for that individual who came back or who was injured overseas.

Rob Wiley: And it's important to know that that's not just spouses. You could be taking care of a parent or you could be taking care of a child if that person was a service member who was then injured and you're caring for that person. Now obviously military service, it's very important someone takes military leave. They're deployed overseas you may just need time off work, to take care of your household, to do the kinds of things that your spouse did before they were deployed. Does an individual have any kind of rights to take leave for those kinds of exigencies?

Colin Walsh: Yes they do. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act you can get up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of those exigencies that might happen because one of your household is overseas serving our country.

Rob Wiley: And an important part about that is most of the FMLA deals with, with injuries with a serious medical condition. There's no requirement for an injury if your spouse is deployed overseas you can simply take that time, to be able to take care of your household. One the things that we do see, you know people go into the National Guard or they go into the military, they're deployed, they return to work, do they have any sort of rights to get their job back?

Colin Walsh: Yes they do, and the right is gonna to be found under USERRA. But generally speaking an employee, who is deployed does have the right to return to their job when that employment ends.

Rob Wiley: And that's a complicated law, and I think that that's the kind of situation in which if you're going to be deployed you should probably talk to an attorney ahead of time. Some of these are provided by the military for free but you can obviously talk to a private attorney as well. And then if you return from work and you had USERRA rights and you're not given your job back, that's the kind of case that we do actively pursue. That would be a violation of the law.

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