DOL Interpretation of FMLA Allows More Workers to Care for Adult Children

DOL Interpretation of FMLA Allows More Workers to Care for Adult Children

LAS-ELC applauds the Department of Labor for acting to help workers care for family members in need.  In a new Administrator’s Interpretation issued January 14th, DOL clarified that parents may take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to tend to an adult child with a disability who is incapable of self-care, regardless of the child’s age when the disability arose. 

The AI also specifies that the definition of “disability” under the FMLA is the same as the expanded definition of disability in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.  This is an important step toward extending the protections of the FMLA to all working caregivers, allowing more ailing family members to receive essential care and preventing individuals from having to choose between work and family.

However, the protections of the FMLA, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next month, still fail to cover all those who need them.  The law’s definition of family is much too narrow and must be amended to include all adult children (not just those who are disabled and incapable of self-care), as well as siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.

For more information, check out our updated fact sheet on family medical leave and the Administrator's Interpretation on DOL's website.