Did I say "and"? I meant "or" – Department of Labor's Reinterpretation of In Loco Parentis requirements under FMLA Source: The FMLA Blog – http://federalfmla.typepad.com/fmla_blog/ Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved by Carl C. Bosland, Esq. Reproduced with permission. Mr. Bosland is the author of A Federal Sector Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act & Related Litigation. On June 22, 2010, the US Department of Labor reinterpreted the existing requirements for an in loco parentis relationship for FMLA leave due to the birth, adoption, foster care placement or serious health condition of a son or daughter. The FMLA permits an eligible employee-parent to take FMLA leave to bond with a newborn or newly adopted/foster care placed son/daughter, or to care for a son or daughter with a serious health condition. Parent includes in loco parentis relationships- meaning situations where there is not a biological or legal relationship between parent and child, but the person assumes the role of the parent toward the child. Under the existing regulation, 29 CFR 825.122(c)(3), an in loco parentis relationship has two requirements: (1) day-to-day care of the child; and (2) financial support. In the memorandum, the DOL announced that the regulations only requires that the employee who intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent to either provide day-to-day care for the child OR financial support, but not both. The DOL's "interpretation" is at direct odds with the plain reading of the regulation. Mr. Bosland Comments: The DOL Memorandum received a lot of Press because of it confirmed that same-sex partners who satisfy the definition could be an in loco parentis parent for purposes of FMLA leave. While that has always been a distinct possibility, it is noteworthy that the DOL has put in it writing. The substantive change is that the DOL has reduced the burden for establishing an in loco parentis parental relationship with a child from two requirements to one by interpreting "and" in the existing regulation to mean "or." My guess is that the DOL will formalize the change when it gets around to issuing regulations to implement the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act changes to military family leave. The DOL Memorandum is available on the Internet at: http://www.feedblitz.com/t2.asp?/121772/2190912/0/http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/WHD/WHD20100877.htm
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