Veterans Day honors the countless Americans who have answered the call of duty and made tremendous sacrifices for their nation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is a proud supporter of veterans: Both within our ranks – 30% of WHD employees are veterans – and through enforcing wage and hour laws that benefit service members, veterans, and their families.
We enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law that permits eligible employees of covered employers to take job-protected leave for qualifying family and medical reasons.
In particular, the FMLA provides important leave entitlements that benefit veterans and military families. We take seriously our responsibilities to enforce these provisions of the FMLA as well as provide robust education and outreach to increase public awareness. We want veterans, service members, and their families to understand these valuable rights. And we want their employers to understand their responsibilities by providing meaningful compliance assistance to help them comply with the law.
Here are some key provisions of the law benefiting military service members, veterans, and their families:
- If your spouse, parent, or child is a military member who is deployed or has been notified of an impending deployment to a foreign country, you may be entitled to take leave for events like deployment or homecoming ceremonies. You may also qualify to take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave for circumstances like making child care arrangements or attending military ceremonies.
- If you are the spouse, parent, child, or next-of-kin of a covered service member, you may be entitled to military caregiver leave. Military caregiver leave allows you to take up to 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to care for your military relative.
We’ve developed a robust library of resources online, including fact sheets, a handy reference guide, pocket cards, answers to frequently asked questions, and more. Throughout the year, we also conduct numerous outreach events to ensure employers understand their responsibility to grant military leave and ensure that those eligible understand these critical rights.
We are also committed to hiring veterans within our own workplace family. We value the tremendous skills and diverse expertise hiring veterans has brought to our agency, enhancing the work we do for America’s employers and working families. I am so proud to share that nearly 500 WHD employees are veterans. These dedicated men and women have gone from serving their country in one capacity to serving it in yet another, stitching together a lifetime of public service.
Please join me in honoring those who have served and in thanking them for the contributions they continue to make, in such a wide variety of ways, to our great nation.