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Family and Medical Leave Act: Son or daughter definition

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has specific protections for workers who meet the criteria for the unpaid leave. One of the provisions that is in this act is that the employee can take off work to care for a son or daughter. This can occur due to the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child in the home.

It is important to know what the definition of a son or daughter is if you are going to need to take this leave. A son or daughter is a person who is your biological child or who you have been given guardianship or parental control over. For the purpose of the FMLA, it doesn't matter if the person was disabled from birth as long as he or she has a condition that makes him or her unable to care for him or herself.

Typically, you can use FMLA coverage if you need to care for your child due to a medical condition. This coverage lasts until they turn 18 years old, but can extend beyond that age if there is a debilitating condition that makes them unable to do basic tasks, such as cooking, cleaning or running to the Post Office, on their own.

If your child is an adult, you would have to show that there is a condition present that prevents them from being able to take care of themselves. One question that comes up often is that of a pregnant adult who is on bed rest. The pregnancy itself wouldn't be considered a disabling condition, but some conditions related to the pregnancy might be. It is a good idea to find out how specific circumstances can impact your right to leave under FMLA.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Wage and Hour Division: Adult Child FAQs," accessed Jan. 24, 2018

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