A series of new labor department regulations announced by the White House and Labor Department this morning should go a long way towards giving spouses the time off they need to take care of their families during deployment or injured servicemembers up to five years after leaving active duty.
Currently the rules let family of injured active duty servicemembers take off up to 26 weeks per year of unpaid leave and the families of active guard and reservists to take up to 12 weeks for other specific military activites. The new rules will expand the caretaker time to after the injured servicemember transitions to the VA and the other "special" leave to the families of regular active duty families.
You can read all about the rules as thee currently exist here and all of my details on the new regulations over at Military.com. I had the great pleasure of talking to spouse bloggers Kristle Helmuth and Cheryl Gansner for the story -- make sure to check out their blogs here and here.
One of the things I didn't mention in the story was a very valid point spouse blogger Rebekah Sanderlin brought up. She is worried that the new rules could discourage companies from hiring active duty spouses because they know they may be forced to give them unpaid leave. While the labor rules only apply to companies with more than 50 employees, it still could have a dampening affect, she said.
"Are small employers going to be scared off from hiring spouses or servicemember families? That’s my only concern -- that this couldpotentially backfire."