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Grandmother appointed as Temporary Guardian

One of our employees requested FMLA to care for her Grandmother. She produced a document indicating that her Grandmother was appointed as her “Temporary Guardian” when she was 16 years old. The Guardianship paperwork states that the Grandmother was given the authority to house, shelter, feed, seek medical attention for and make decisions on behalf of the child. It did not have an end date and it did not contain a parental signature – just the name of the parent and a Notary Seal.
Is this sufficient information to grant FMLA to the Grandchild to care for her Grandmother? Thank you.

The U.S. Department of Labor states that in part an eligible employee of a covered employer may take FMLA leave to care for the spouse, or a son or daughter, or parent, of the employee if they have a serious health condition. Son or daughter is defined as a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is (a) under 18 years of age; or 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

In addition, in reviewing the term “parent” the U.S. Department of Labor defines the term, in “loco parentis”, as a person who stood in place of a parent. In loco parentis is commonly understood to refer to a relationship in which a person has put himself or herself in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child with whom they have no legal or biological connections.

An employee is eligible for FMLA leave to care for a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child.   An example is an employee may take leave to care for their grandmother with a serious health condition if the grandmother assumed responsibility for raising the employee after the death of her parents when the employee was a child. Temporary guardian would probably be an acceptable document to establish in loco parentis.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 17th, 2013 at 3:02 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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