DOL Interprets the FMLA Broadly and Expands Leave Protections for Those Who Stand In Loco Parentis to a Child
By Maria A. Audero
On June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Administrators Interpretation No. 2010-3 (Interpretation). It clarifies the circumstances under which a person stands in loco parentis to a child for purposes of taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA entitles employees to leave for the birth or placement of a son or daughter, to bond with a newborn or newly placed son or daughter, and to care for a son or daughter with a serious health condition. Son or daughter is defined to include not only biological or adopted children, but also foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, and children of persons who stand in loco parentis. The FMLA regulations provide that persons who are in loco parentis to a child include those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child. The regulations go on to clarify that a biological or legal relationship is not necessary.