USDOL Clarifies Definition of “Child” Under FMLA

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In an Administrator’s Interpretation dated June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor clarified the definition of “son or daughter” as it relates to employees who need time away from work to bond with a baby or care for an ill child under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

Under existing regulations, a “child” includes a biological, adopted or foster child, step-child, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis (literally, in the place of a parent).  While the opinion clarifies that in addition to other individuals, same sex partners can serve in loco parentis to a child to which they do not have a biological or legal relationship, it further notes that when an employee provides day-to-day care or financial support to the child, he or she may be in loco parentis to the child.