Earlier today, the U.S. withdrew the last troops stationed in Afghanistan, bringing a close to a 20 year war there.
The war has had a substantial impact in America’s workplaces over the years. For example, back in 2008, after years of inaction, Congress passed a sweeping expansion of the federal FMLA law to provide for protected leave to Specifically, an employee may take 12 weeks leave, where the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation and there is a “qualifying exigency”.
The war in Afghanistan was most definitely one of those “contingency operations” also known as “an action or operation against an opposing military force.”
In addition. Congress also expanded the FMLA to a military caregiver leave which allows an employee to take up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to take care of his or her military relative if he or she has a qualifying serious injury or illness.
These changes — and corresponding one in Connecticut in 2016 — were in response to the continued strain being placed on families for the war on terror. Another law that has been implicated far more in the last 20 years — USERRA — will also be implicated less with the end of the war.
That said, the end of the war is a somber time, with the heavy loss of life from the various armed forces just last week.
I was reminded of that recently on a visit to a local pub, Four Dad’s Pub in Granby. On a table right by the door, was table “reserved” for the fallen service members. This is the picture above. I found it touching and a reminder of the toll that war has had on so many families in Connecticut and beyond.
So today, we remember those we’ve lost in the war and honor their memories. May their memories be for a blessing.