DOL Expands FMLA Leave to Special Education Meetings

A recent opinion letter issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) confirmed that parents attending certain school meetings for the benefit of their children are entitled to the protection of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for their absences from work.

The letter was in response to parents’ inquiry regarding their two children with serious health conditions as defined under FMLA. After obtaining certification from the children’s doctor, the wife had requested her employer to take FMLA leave intermittently to attend the school’s quarterly Committee on Special Education (“CSE”) to discuss the Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) of her children. The parents sought an opinion by the DOL after her employer denied the request.

The DOL determined that attending these meetings to address the educational and special needs of the children fell within FMLA’s statutory definition “to care for,” thereby triggering FMLA protection. Since this was determined a qualifying reason for the wife to take intermittent FMLA leave, employers should update their family leave policies in light of this opinion letter. Check out ComplianceDashboard to learn how to comply with the various FMLA provisions.



The information and content contained in this blog post are for general informational purposes only, and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

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