Department of Labor issues guidance on use of family medical leave to care for adult children with disabilities

The Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has issued Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2013-1, to clarify that the age of a son or daughter at the onset of a disability is not relevant in determining a parent’s entitlement to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A parent is entitled to take FMLA leave to care for a son or daughter 18 years of age or older, if the adult son or daughter has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, is incapable of self-care due to that disability, has a serious health condition, and is in need of care due to the serious health condition. The new DOL guidance clarifies that the age of onset is not relevant to a determination of whether a parent is entitled to FMLA leave. The Administrator’s Interpretation also provides guidance on the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 on the FMLA definition of son or daughter, and the impact on FMLA leave for parents caring for adult children wounded in military service.

Bill Includes Paid Family and Medical Leave

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced the Balancing Act of 2011 (H.R. 2436), an omnibus bill that seeks to help workers balance work and family life.  Among other provisions, the bill creates an insurance program that provides workers with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per year. Leave can be used in several ways, including caring for a child or other family member with a serious medical condition. The bill also expands the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employers with 25 or more employees (current law covers employers with 50 or more employees).

Labor and ABA join forces to resolve family medical leave and fair labor complaints

In the first-ever collaboration between a federal agency and the private bar, the Department of Labor (DOL) and American Bar Association (ABA) will join forces to resolve Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) complaints that DOL cannot handle due to limited capacity. Congress provided workers the right to pursue their own private litigation (private right of action) under these laws, but finding an attorney with the necessary experience and subject matter expertise to represent them can be difficult. Workers with complaints will be referred to the ABA for referrals to lawyers experienced in FMLA or FLSA. DOL’s press release about the program is at http://www.dol.gov/whd/resources/ABAReferralPolicy.htm