The old adage, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family — not true if you’re hanging with the Department of Labor. The DOL picked your family when they decided to name the Family & Medical Leave Act. Let’s break it down….Parent, Spouse, and Child. Simple enough. NOT! Here we go:
Parents: Biological, Step, Adoptive, and the ever popular In Loco Parentis.
Biological, Step, and Adoptive are relatively self-explanatory. All three are generally relationships that began when you were a minor. Although I suppose your parent could have married when you were an adult, giving you a Step-Parent as an adult. I’m not going to go there right now.
In Loco Parentis is where it really gets tricky. Remember the three times that your Dad was deployed overseas and crazy Aunt Mertyle lived with the family to help your Mom care for the five kids? Yeah, she took on the same day-to-day responsibilities that Dad would have been doing. She now has the dubious honor of being an “In Loco Parentis Parent”. OH, you say that you were 22 when that happened and she only cared for your two siblings still at home? Sorry, then no-go. You had to be a minor when she cared for you. Seriously, check out DOL Fact Sheet 28C https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28C.htm . It’s not this clear cut, though. Not only did you have to be a minor, but the amount of support is also a factor. Did she just pick you up from school and give you a snack until mom got home, much like a sitter, but then go live at her own house? That doesn’t quite meet the definition.
Take a gander at that fact sheet. I’m going to let you digest this one for a bit. Stay tuned, though, we’re not done with “F is for Family.”