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Who is a qualifying family member under the FMLA?


There comes a time in most California residents' lives where they or a family member are facing an illness. In these cases people often need to rely on family members for their care. During the illness, people often don't have time to go to work in addition to caring for their loved one. They may need a temporary break from work as they concentrate on their health or that if their family member.

The federal family medical leave act provides this break. It allows certain employees to take up to 12 unpaid weeks of leave from their job to care for a qualifying family member. But, who is a qualifying family member?

According to the United States Department of Labor, a qualifying family member is a parent, spouse or child. Under the regulations, a spouse is a person that the employee is legally married to in the state where the employee lives. This can be a common law marriage, same-sex marriage or traditional marriage relationship. The law defines a parent as a foster, adoptive or biological mother or father. Parent "in-law" are not a qualifying family member under the FMLA.

Whether a person is a child of the employee depends on the person's age. If the child is 17-years-old or younger, then a qualifying child is any legal ward, stepchild, biological, foster or adoptive child of the employee. If the child is 18-years-old or older, the child must have a mental of physical disability that renders the child incapable of self-care in order to qualify.

An attorney can help California residents determine if they qualify for relief under the FMLA. They can help to answer specific legal questions, which this blog post cannot answer.

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