The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has extended the commentary period for its proposed rule to implement new statutory amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that would expand military family leave provisions and incorporate a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees.

On Feb. 15, the department published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register with a public commentary period scheduled to end on April 16. Although many comments already have been submitted on the proposal, the department has received requests from various organizations to extend the comment period, an official announcement revealed.

Because of the interest that has been expressed and the department's desire to obtain as much information about its proposal as possible, the commentary period has been extended through April 30, the WHD announced. To view the proposed rule and submit comments, visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at and search by regulation identification number 1235-AA03.

The FMLA, enacted in 1993, entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

The proposed language would extend the entitlement of military caregiver leave to family members of veterans for up to five years after leaving the military. At this time, the law only covers family members of "currently serving" service members. Additionally, the proposal expands the military family leave provisions of the FMLA by extending qualifying exigency leave to employees whose family members serve in the regular armed forces. Currently, the law only covers families of National Guard members and reservists.