Can an employee take FMLA for a step-parent?

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We have an employee possibly wanting to take FMLA to care for a Stepparent. I know this is allowed. The tricky part is her father is in the household. Unfortunately is not in the greatest health due to lung cancer illness. I would assume due to his health issues, the employee would be allowed to take this time under FMLA to care for the stepmom once she is released from the hospital. I just want to be sure I am thinking correctly.



The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition. FMLA leave may be taken to provide care for any individual who is the employee’s “parent” as the term is defined in the statute and its regulations.


For FMLA leave purposes, a “parent” is defined broadly as the biological, adoptive, step, or foster parent of an employee or an individual who stood “in loco parentis” to the employee when the employee was a son or daughter. “In loco parentis” refers to the type of relationship in which a person has put themselves in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child. It exists when an individual intends to take on the role of a parent.


Said another way, an eligible employee may take leave to care for any individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child regardless of any biological relationship of the two people.


So, if your employees stepparents fill that definition, and if your employee is FMLA eligible, then they will be entitled to take leave to care for their serious health condition(s).


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