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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Beginning Oct. 31, federal employees will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to assist an active-duty family member who is deployed overseas, or who is about to deploy, according to regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management.

The new rules, which amend the Family and Medical Leave Act, apply to a federal employee with a spouse, child or parent already deployed or soon to deploy.

One of the more notable changes is that employees will be able to take leave to attend counseling, either for themselves, or for the servicemember or the servicemember’s child, with someone other than a health care provider, as long as the need for counseling is related to the deployment. Sessions with a military chaplain will be covered, as will other counseling services offered by the military or a military service organization.

Employees under the revision will also be able to take leave to find child care, to attend parent-teacher conferences, official military ceremonies or informational briefings. Also to be permitted: making financial or legal arrangements, such as obtaining military identification cards, updating wills, or arranging a funeral.

Employees will also be able to use the leave to spend time with the military member for up to five days while he or she is temporarily home from deployment for rest and recuperation.

Under FMLA, employees may also use sick or annual leave.

Congress expanded the FMLA benefits as part of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a recent Federal Times report.

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