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- Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor

Reasons for Leave
Definition of a Qualifying Family Member

Based on your selections, it appears the family member does not meet the definition of a qualifying family member under the FMLA.

Spouse means a husband or wife as defined or recognized in the State where the individual was married and includes individuals in a same-sex marriage or common law marriage. Spouse also includes a husband or wife in a marriage that was validly entered into outside of the United States if the marriage could have been entered into in at least one State.

Parent means a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis (see below) to the employee when the employee was a son or daughter as defined under the FMLA. This term does not include parents "in-law."

Son or daughter (child) means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is either under age 18 or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time that FMLA leave is to commence.

Persons who are "in loco parentis" include those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child where the individual intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent with regard to the child, or, in the case of an employee, a person who had such responsibility for the employee when he or she was a child. A biological or legal relationship is not necessary.

Note: The FMLA also provides specific definitions of son or daughter for purposes of the military leave provisions of the FMLA. These terms are included in the Glossary.

Please contact your nearest Wage and Hour Division office if you have additional questions about the definitions of qualifying family members under the FMLA.

Continue to Serious Health Condition to learn about the health conditions that qualify under the FMLA or Return to Reasons for Leave.