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Care of adult children IS covered by the FMLA

Earlier this year the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a non-court-binding Administrator’s Interpretation concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in regards to the care of children 18 years of age or older.

The interpretation says that an eligible employee is entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA to care for an adult child who is incapable of self-care because of a disability, regardless of the child’s age when the disability began.

If the disability began in adulthood the adult child could qualify as a “son or daughter” assuming all of the requirements below are met. This includes adult children in the military, where FMLA allows up to 26 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected military caregiver leave during a 12-month period.

The Requirements

Eligible employees are entitled to take FMLA leave to care for adult children if the following requirements are met:

1. The adult child has an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) “disability”, meaning the adult child:

• has a mental or physical disability, and

• is incapable of self-care because of that disability.

2. The adult child has a Serious Health Condition (SHC) which:

• is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental impairment that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

• is NOT a “minor and transitory” impairments (i.e., broken leg — no complications).

3. The parent is “needed to care” for the adult child due to the SHC. This includes providing psychological comfort and reassurance that would be beneficial to an adult child with a SHC who is receiving inpatient or home care. An adult child is in need of care if he/she cannot:

• care for his or her own basic medical, hygienic, or nutritional needs or safety, and

• transport himself or herself to the doctor.

EctoHR, Inc. is here for your company If you have questions about this article or the FMLA, EctoHR, Inc. will assist your company in finding the information you need. Contact a team member at EctoHR by calling 810.534.0170, or by email

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