View Full Version : FMLA - Help

05-06-2010, 07:45 PM
Hello Everyone,

I have been lurking here for about a month now - since I have found out that it was suggested my daughter get surgery.

A little background...my daughter was diagnosed with Scoliosis when she was 13 almost 14 years old by her family doctor. They referred us to Shriners Hospital in Greenville, SC. We went they said she has a Left-sided thoracic curve that measured 42 degrees and right thoracolumbar curve that measured 35 degrees. Due to her being "finished growing" they decided not to brace but to just watch the curve. We went back yearly to get measured and at 18 yrs old at her last appt she measured 45 degrees thoracic curve. They didn't feel she would get worse.

Today...she is 20 years old. She went to her family doctor who suggested she get her back looked at again. We went to an orthopedic doctor/surgeon who then suggested us to another orthopedic doctor that specializes in Scoliosis. After seeing that doctor her spine now measures 54 degrees. And he wants to do surgery -- feeling it will only get worse.

That brings me to my real question. She is 20 years old. Lives at home. Attends college full-time. Is a dependent child and on my insurance. I want to take some time off of work during her surgery and post-op if she needs me, but I'm being told I don't qualify for FLMA because she is over the age of 18.

Does anyone else have any experience with this? Could you do anything about it?

Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

05-06-2010, 08:29 PM
Hi there,

Sorry to hear your daughter needs surgery. I believe your employer is mistaken about the need for child to be under 18. The FMLA regulations say "care of a family member, child, spouse, or parent." There are many FMLA resources on the web, here is one government link:


Do you think your employer is uninformed, or intentionally trying to be difficult?

I would try to go up the chain of command if possible with your Human Resources Department. You can show them the info you find online, and if they challenge you further, ask them for written documentation of the regulations requiring the care to be for a minor child. There are also many resources online if you search for "FMLA compliance".

Good luck!

05-07-2010, 11:54 AM

I'm with Gayle on this one. My cousin is undergoing chemo and his wife is taking time off under FMLA while her husband battles cancer. Age shouldn't matter.

Good luck!

05-07-2010, 12:09 PM
My husband took 4 weeks leave from the school district under FMLA when I had my surgery and I took FMLA time when my father was terminally ill. That age cut-off is not correct for FMLA.

05-07-2010, 01:38 PM
i'm 18th years old my mtate that om was on the family medical leave act and it state if one of your kids or a family member had a serous illness you should stay with them

05-07-2010, 04:56 PM
Thanks everyone for replying. That is the frustrating thing about the FMLA laws...they said you can take off of work for a spouse, parent and a child. But they define "child" as son or daughter under 18 yrs old. It just doesn't make sense.

There may be a way around it...if my daughter is considered Handicap / or disabled. Does anyone know if she would be covered by the ADA laws?

05-07-2010, 06:09 PM
This topic is really bugging me. I am hoping your employer is just uninformed... I read through the DOL FMLA info in the link that Leah posted and no where can I find that a 'child' is someone 18 years of age or younger. The fact that your daughter is a dependent, a full-time student and on your insurance should be validation enough that she is still your 'child.'

Perhaps another discussion would be in order and your boss (or whomever) can show you in writing somewhere where it is stated what constitutes a 'child.'

12 weeks is quite a long time in the recovery of relatively young spinal patients. She could be quite capable of daily self-care weeks before that 12 week time limit, allowing you to return to work earlier.

Just my two cents worth!

03-11-2011, 09:16 PM
I pulled the actual statute. It would appear that they are partly right. In the definitions.

(12) SON OR DAUGHTER.--The term "son or daughter" means 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
(B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Now, you could argue that they are incapable of self-care because of physical diability. Considering that they cannot do a whole lot after surgery, that would seem to meet that requirement.