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Department of Labor and Industry Offers Guidance Regarding Time Off for Parents with Children Who Have Serious Health Conditions

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) generally requires covered Employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period to any eligible Employee who needs time off for, among other things, to care for an Employee’s child when that child has a serious health condition.  In a recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) advisory opinion, the DOL considered whether a parent would be provided job protection under FMLA when that parent was required to take time off to attend individualized education program (IEP) meetings for her children.  In its opinion, the DOL determined that parents may take intermittent leave under the FMLA to attend these meetings for children who have “serious health conditions.”

The facts of the case involved a parent who had two children with “serious health conditions” as certified by the childrens’ doctors.  The parent had requested intermittent leave to attend IEP meetings at the childrens’ school.  At the IEP meetings, the parent would meet with school officials and school appointed medical providers to receive updates regarding the childrens’ progress and discuss areas of concern.  They would also discuss any recommendations made by the medical providers.

The DOL found that the parent’s attendance at IEP meetings was essential to her ability to provide appropriate care to her children and therefore was consistent with the purpose of the FMLA.

If you have questions about your rights under FMLA you should speak with an experienced Labor and Employment attorney.

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