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Dept. of Labor Clarifies the Definition of In Loco Parentis for FMLA Leave?

Kentucky employment lawyers are excited about the latest Administrator’s Interpretation from the Department of Labor. On June 22, 2010 Deputy Administrator Nancy Leppink clarified when an employee standing in loco parentis may take FMLA leave for birth, bonding, and to care for the child.

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Typically, employees eligible for Family Medical Leave may take up to twelve weeks of leave each year to for the birth or placement of a child, to bond with a newborn or newly placed child, or to care for a child with a serious health condition. 29 U.S.C. ยง2612(a)(1)(A)-(C). In recent years, with ever expanding family units, more and more people wonder the extent of the definition in loco parentis.

As the opinion points out, Congress intended the definition of “son or daughter” to include children outside of traditional families, including “adoptive, step, or foster parents, their guardians or sometimes simply their grandparents or other relatives or adults.” See S.Rep. No. 103-2, at 22.

Ultimately, the Department of Labor concludes that that “either day-to-day care or financial support may establish an in loco parentis relationship” to qualify for Family Medical Leave.

It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for taking Family Medical Leave. If you believe you have been retaliated against because of taking leave, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.