HRC Blog

Department of Labor Hosts FMLA Webinar

The Department of Labor (DOL) will host a free webinar on June 27 at 2 p.m. EDT covering the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and policy developments that impact LGBT parents.  The webinar will help workers and employers understand leave coverage and eligibility.  DOL has also prepared a 16-page booklet addressing common questions about the leave.

The FMLA currently provides eligible employees of covered employers 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period: for the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee; for the placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition; for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; and for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a covered military member on “active duty.”  

In 2010, DOL published an Administrator’s Interpretation clarifying that employees may be eligible to care for the child they are raising regardless of their legal relationship if they are standing in loco parentis – or caring for the child’s daily needs and providing financial support.  This clarification provides specific language regarding LGBT families.  It provides that “an employee who will share equally in the raising of an adopted child with a same sex partner, but who does not have a legal relationship with the child, would be entitled to leave to bond with the child following placement, or to care for the child if the child had a serious health condition, because the employee stands in loco parentis to the child.”

The booklet and webinar will discuss the impact of this policy on LGBT families and will provide the opportunity to submit questions to an FMLA expert from DOL.  To participate, register at http://s.dol.gov/T2.

While FMLA leave cannot currently be used to care for a same-sex partner or spouse, HRC continues to push Congress to ensure that all American workers have access to critical leave through the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act. 

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