Military Spouse Leave of Absence

The Washington State Military Family Leave Act (MFLA) ( allows an employee whose spouse is a member of the United States armed forces, National Guard or reserves to take 15 days of leave when the spouse is notified of an impending call to active duty or when the spouse is on leave from an active duty deployment.

The purpose of MFLA leave is for families of military personnel serving in military conflicts to spend time together. This leave may be used prior to deployment or during the spouse's leave from deployment, but may not be used at the end of the deployment.

An employee must work for an average of 20 or more hours per week to qualify for MFLA.

See Washington State Military Family Leave Act Q&A (230 KB PDF).

Qualifying exigency leave under the FMLA

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job protection to family members of military servicemembers for qualifying exigencies and for care of covered servicemembers, including certain veterans, with a serious injury or illness.

In most cases, qualifying exigency leave reasons do not overlap with the purpose of MFLA leave, so the FMLA and MFLA will not run at the same time. This means that using MFLA will not reduce the employee's FMLA leave bank.

See the following resources:

Employees who are veterans or members of the National Guard or reserve components of the military have their own rights to protected leave for military service under The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (

For information about USERRA, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 360-570-6970.

For more information:

For questions or training opportunities on Washington's leave laws, contact L&I's protected leave specialist at 360-902-4930.

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