In a recent opinion letter, the DOL decided that parents can use FMLA leave to attend their children’s specialized education meetings.
For employers, this adds to the list yet another reason employees could qualify for FMLA leave.
Meetings were essential
The DOL’s opinion letter discussed a mother who needed to take intermittent FMLA leave to care for her special needs children.
Her employer approved that request but denied her request to use leave to attend individualized education program (IEP) meetings at her children’s school.
The DOL ruled these meetings qualified for FMLA use, since they involved the children’s teachers and doctors discussing their health and needs.
The agency noted the mother’s attendance at these meetings is essential to properly provide care for her children.
This is a good warning for employers not to outright deny a worker’s FMLA request, since “caring for a family member with a serious health condition” can cover a lot of ground.
Employers should also be aware this decision may increase the number of FMLA requests they receive.