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Wage & Hour Division clarifies FMLA definition of “son or daughter” as it applies to employees claiming parental relationships

Due to employer and employee confusion over how the FMLA applies when there is no legal or biological parent-child relationship, the Wage and Hour Deputy Administrator has provided additional clarification on the definition of “son or daughter” in the context of an employee taking FMLA-protected leave for the birth or placement of a child, to care for a newborn or newly placed child, or to care for a child with a serious health condition.

Based on an examination of the relevant factors, it is the Administrator’s interpretation that either day-to-day care or financial support may establish an in loco parentis parental status relationship where the employee intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent with regard to a child. But in all cases, whether an employee stands in loco parentis to a child will depend on the particular facts.

The full text of the Division’s interpretation letter FMLA 2010-3 can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/adminIntrprtn/FMLA/2010/FMLAAI2010_3.htm.