Military Spouse Leave of Absence

Washington State Military Spouse Leave of Absence Law

A new Washington State Military Family Leave law (RCW 49.77) ( passed by the 2008 Legislature and effective June 12, 2008, allows an employee whose spouse is a member of the United States armed forces (active duty), National Guard, or reserves who has been notified of an impending deployment or order to active duty, or who has been deployed and is on leave from deployment, a total of fifteen days of unpaid leave per deployment to spend time with their spouse. This leave may not be used after the deployment has ended.

Get more detailed information about this new law in this helpful fact sheet: Leave for spouses of deployed military personnel (216 KB PDF).

New FMLA amendments for families of military personnel

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. A section amended the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) ( to provide eligible employees 2 new leave rights related to military service:

  • New leave entitlement: If an employee qualifies for FMLA they may use up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a military member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained in the line of duty while on active duty.
  • New qualifying reason for leave: An employee who qualifies for FMLA and has a family member in the National Guard or reserves who is deploying or is deployed may use their FMLA for certain difficult reasons related to a deployment.

Information about job protections for employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves: USDOL laws for veterans employees deployed to military service (36 KB PDF).

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