U.S. employers have seen an 18 percent uptick in leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for a family member's illness within the past year, according to a 2011 client analysis by FMLASource, a ComPsych company that helps assure employer compliance with the FMLA and state leave laws.
Reasons for the increase in FMLA leave-taking, according to the firm's analysis, include:
• Expanded definition of “parent” (in loco parentis)—in the past, an employee had to prove day-to-day care and financial support to be considered a parent. Now the employee need only demonstrate day-to-day care or financial support. The expanded definition allows for employees in nontraditional relationships to claim parental status and as a result gain job protection under FMLA. The new interpretation includes such roles as grandparents caring for grandchildren, same-sex and nonmarried couples.
• In addition, certain states (such as Oregon and Washington) now include grandparents as well as in-laws under the definition of parent.
Caregiving Takes Toll on U.S. Workers; Employers Can Help, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, July 2011
Coordinating Leaves of Absence, SHRM Research Articles, February 2011
Absence and Leave Management Training for Supervisors, SHRM Sample Presenations, November 2009
FMLA Policy Statement, SHRM Templates and Tools
SHRM Online Benefits Discipline
SHRM Online Retirement Plans Resource Page