Legal Question in Medical Leave in Washington

FMLA does not cover care for siblings

My co-worker is leaving work to care for her sister that is having an operation to remove a malignant tumor. She has been told that she does not qualify for FMLA benefits because she is caring for a sibling. My co-worker and sister are the only remaining members of their family. There is no one else to help care for her ailing sister. Is there not special clause in this case?

Thank you for your time.


--name removed--H.--name removed--

Asked on 8/06/03, 6:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Craig Crispin Crispin Employment Lawyers

Re: FMLA does not cover care for siblings

It does not appear that your coworker is covered. The FMLA provides protection as follows: During each twelve-month period "an eligible employee (is) entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave . . . for one or more of the following:" (1) because of the birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for such child (2) because of the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (3) in order to care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent if such spouse, son, daughter or parent has a serious health condition or (4) because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform her employment functions.

The terms of the Act do not include a sibling. Your fact summary does not provide sufficient detail to permit an examination of other potential grounds for claiming protection under the FMLA or state law, if any.

NOTE: The above does not constitute legal opinion and is offered for the purposes of discussion only. The law differs in every jurisdiction, and you should not rely on any opinion except that of an attorney you have retained, who has a professional duty to advise you after being fully informed of all the pertinent facts and who is familiar with the applicable law.

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Answered on 8/15/03, 1:36 am

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