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Department of Labor Amends FMLA

Last month the Department of Labor announced an amended Family Medical Leave Act in which same-sex couples have more rights under the law. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Labor expanded their definition of "son or daughter" to a broader definition, which has extended the rights to non-traditional families.

Up until the Obama administration expanded the definition of "son or daughter" last month, FMLA allowed employees working for businesses with 50 or more workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year in order to take care of a newborn child, adopt a child, or assume care for a foster child. Many companies that employ less than 50 workers also still honor the rules of FMLA. The new law allows such employees to take off from work if they are simply assuming the role of caring for a child.

This amended definition extends the parent-child relationship beyond a biological or legal relationship. For example, an employee can now take off work to take care of a non-married partner's child. Non-traditional families are also now granted FMLA rights, such as grandparents or aunts who have assumed the parenting duties of a child.

The purpose of FMLA is to allow employees to deal with family issues without a detriment to their employment. Anybody who has questions about family medical leave or feels that his or her rights with FMLA have been violated should contact a Houston employment lawyer to learn more information, including information about the process of filing a legal claim.

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