With more than 50,000 wounded warriors returning to the United States for treatment, rehabilitation and relearning how to live with a serious injury, families throughout California and the rest of the United States have answered their own call to duty: to take care of their loved one at Walter Reed or another military hospital. But many family members have lost their jobs because of the extended time away from work required to nurse a son, daughter or spouse back to health after a battlefield injury.
Unfortunately, many do not know that the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 26 weeks of job-protected leave for those who are caring for an injured soldier, seaman, airman, guardsman, reservist or other military personnel. While six months may not seem like nearly enough time for those caring for amputees or other seriously wounded warriors, it is at least a start for those employees that qualify.
Employees must work for a company with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius and have worked for their company for at least 1250 hours in the last 12 months to qualify for FMLA leave. If you have been denied FMLA leave or fired after taking time off to care for a wounded warrior, you may have a legal claim against your employer. An employment lawyer in your area who is familiar with the application of FMLA medical leave to family caregivers of military personnel can answer your questions about your legal rights.
For returning servicemen and women, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) protects your right to return to work after coming home from a military deployment.
Source: Military.com, “Caring for a Wounded Warrior? You’re Fired!”