Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced the Military Family Leave Act of 2009, a bill that will provide military families with the ability to spend quality time with their deployed or deploying loved ones. Specifically, this legislation would provide two weeks of unpaid leave to the spouse, children, or parents of a member of the military who receives notification of deployment or is currently deployed.

“As a member of Congress who represents thousands of military personnel and their families, I see the stress deployment can put on a family,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Military families make a tremendous sacrifice for our country and they should not have to be concerned about how their employer will respond if a loved one is deployed. This bill relieves some of that stress by ensuring family members have adequate time away from work to spend time with their deployed or deploying loved one, allowing them ample time to handle issues that arise over the course of a deployment.”

While the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act added a provision to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allowing military families to take time off for a number of reasons connected with a deployment, not all employees are eligible under current law. The Military Family Leave Act of 2009 seeks to ensure that all military families have the ability to take two-weeks of unpaid leave in response to an upcoming or current deployment of a loved one.

Senator Ron Wyden recently introduced similar legislation in the Senate.