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Can Parents Take FMLA Leave To Care For Adult Sons Or Daughters?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a worker to take unpaid job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks to care for him or herself or a family member, including an adult son or daughter. The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division clarified earlier this year who qualifies as an adult son or daughter for purposes of taking FMLA medical leave. It may seem fairly intuitive, but here's what the federal agency had to say.

For a parent to qualify for job-protected leave under the FMLA to care for his or her son or daughter, the parent must:

  • Have worked for at least one year or 1250 hours over the last 12 months for the same employer
  • Have worked for a public agency or private company with at least 50 or more employees

These qualifications have not changed. The WHD division clarified the requirements related to an adult son or daughter that would allow a parent to take FMLA leave.

An adult (18 years old or older) child must:

  • Be disabled, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Be unable to support and care for him or herself because of the disability
  • Be afflicted with a serious health condition
  • Be in need of health care assistance because of the serious health condition

It does not matter when a disability sets in for purposes of FMLA leave for parents. Parents of soldiers, sailors, airmen or other military personnel who were injured in the line of duty may be eligible for extended FMLA leave if the injury sustained by the adult son or daughter has a long-term impact.

Source: Wage and Hour Division, "Questions and Answers concerning the use of FMLA leave to care for a son or daughter age 18 or older"

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