Family leave for DPs of federal employees becomes (even more) official

by on June 15, 2010  •  In Employment law, Family law

New regulations from the Office of Personnel Management make explicit that federal workers can take leave to care for an ill domestic partner as well as for a spouse. [75 Federal Register 33491 (June 14, 2010)] Both same-sex and different-sex domestic partners are eligible, regardless of whether they live in a state that has a DP registration system. The new regs clarify what has been true since the Clinton administration, but, according to the OPM notice, "agencies have not been consistent in their interpretation" of existing law.

The change adds explicit language regarding different-sex and same-sex partners, as well as stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents and grandchildren, to the list of relationships that permit a federal worker to take leave to provide care or for bereavement. The changes do not apply to the Family and Medical Leave Act, a law that only Congress can change.

The Federal Register notice also reminded workers that they may take leave for sick or dying relatives who are not explicitly listed in the notice:

The fact that a specific relationship is not expressly included in these definitions is not meant to diminish the familial bond, or to imply that leave may not be used to care for a person with that relationship. Although we agree that any of the suggested relationships may be considered a close association with the employee that is equivalent to a family relationship, not every employee's relationship will have this close association. For example, some employees may have been raised by an aunt, while others may have never had the opportunity to meet their aunt.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *