Task Force: Extending FMLA is ‘fair and humane’


The Task Force’s Brad Jacklin explains what the regulatory
change means and who it will impact.

The Department of Labor announced today that it was expanding benefits afforded by the Family and Medical Leave act to cover same-sex parents. Under this new interpretation of the 1993 law, a parent will have access to FMLA leave time when they have a sick or newborn child, even if their relationship to the child isn’t biological or legally adoptive.

Secretary Hilda Solis released a statement announcing the policy change:

No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill. No one who steps in to parent a child when that child’s biological parents are absent or incapacitated should be denied leave by an employer because he or she is not the legal guardian. No one who intends to raise a child should be denied the opportunity to be present when that child is born simply because the state or an employer fails to recognize his or her relationship with the biological parent.  These are just a few of many possible scenarios. The Labor Department’s action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA.

Rea Carey called the change “pro-family” and “fair” in the Task Force’s statement:

“This is a pro-family policy change that will enable parents across the country to provide critical attention and care to their sick and newborn children. This is humane, fair and acknowledges the reality that there are thousands of same-sex couples with children — but without the same basic rights and protections currently guaranteed to other families. No parent should ever fear taking time away from his or her job to care for a child in need.