Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17th) introduced the bipartisan Military Family Leave Act with 25 original co-sponsors. The bill would allow parents, children and spouses of military service members to spend time with a loved one who has received notification of impending active duty deployment. The legislation would give certain immediate family members two weeks unpaid leave from work.
“This bill simply creates two work-weeks of unpaid family leave for immediate family members of active duty service members who are exempted from getting such leave under existing law. Given the sacrifices all our troops and their families make in the name of national security, the legislation is the least we can do to ensure that the needs of all military families are met, regardless of their employment situation,” Cartwright said.
The freshman Pennsylvania Democrat stressed that his also respects the challenges faced by small businesses.
Under provisions added to Family and Medical Leave Act by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, parents, children, and spouses of military personnel are allowed 12 weeks of leave if a family member is notified of impending active duty. However, as is the case with all Family and Medical Leave Act scenarios, the law excludes Americans who work part-time or who are employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees. This Military Family Leave Act would create two work-weeks of the same unpaid military family leave for employees of all stripes.
“The parents, children, and spouses of military personnel are deeply affected by the deployment of a family member. After getting news of impending active duty, time with a loved one is short and precious,” Cartwright said. “This legislation closes gaps in current law to provide family support to all service members called to active duty. And we know that this support is invaluable to soldiers,” said Cartwright.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) President, Retired Naval Vice Admiral Norbert Ryan Jr. commented, “The MOAA applauds Rep. Cartwright for championing this important benefit for the families of our active duty service personnel and pledges our strong support to secure enactment of the Military Family Leave Act.”
Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional district encompasses the Cities of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Pottsville, stretching as far north as Lackawanna County and as far south as suburban Alletown/Bethlehem. Cartwright defeated long term incumbent Congressman Tim Holden last year.