Many non-traditional parents can now take unpaid leave from work to care for their newborn, adopted or ill children, thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor's new regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").
The Labor Department clarified the definition of "son and daughter" under the FMLA so that all employee-parents, regardless of legal or biological relationship, can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for caring for a child with a serious health condition, for the birth and care of a newborn child, and for placement of a child for adoption or foster care. This benefit has been available to heterosexual workers for almost two decades.
The FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. In addition to unpaid leave, the FMLA requires that employees' group health benefits be maintained during the leave. For more information on FMLA, go to www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm.