Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DOL Extends FMLA Leave to Gay Workers

The United States Department of Labor ("DOL") announced yesterday that it was "clarifying" the definition of "son and daughter" under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") to ensure that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives the parental rights to family leave regardless of the that employee's legal or biological relationship with the child. The FMLA generally allows employees to take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period to care for loved ones or themselves. The FMLA also allows employees to take time off for the adoption or birth of a child. The DOL's press release (see proclaims that its clarification "is a victory for many non-traditional families" and "sends a clear message to families in the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community, who often in the past have been denied leave to care for their loved ones." According to National Public Radio (, this clarification, coming less than five months before November's congressional elections, likely will incite conservatives and Republicans who earlier opposed the Obama administration's efforts to repeal a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.