Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently issued a memorandum requiring the federal government’s
24-hour leave without pay ((LWOP) family support policy be made available
to federal employees’ same-sex domestic partners and their children.
In 1997, the 24-hour LWOP policy was established while changes to the
Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA) were being discussed. The FMLA allows eligible employees to take
up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for individual’s own serious
health conditions, to care for a family member’s serious health
condition or for the birth or care of a newborn or adopted child.
Recently, the Department of Labor
broadened the FMLA to allow same sex partners leave rights to care for non-biological children
when they act “in loco parentis.” However, the FMLA was not
amended to include the 24-hour LWOP provision.
In order to address this provision and in furtherance of President Obama’s
intention, the OPM requested that agencies permit federal employees in
same sex domestic partnerships to take up to 24 hours of LWOP in a leave
year for school and early childhood educational activities, routine family
medical purposes, and elderly relatives’ health or care needs.
As stated in the memoranda, each agency “should analyze its existing
policies and make revisions as appropriate, to incorporate language that
will support Federal employees’ with same-sex domestic partners
use of up to 24 hours LWOP each leave year to support the three activities.”
Although the FMLA’s scope has been broadened it remains an extremely
complicated law with a number of detailed requirements, including strict
time limits, complicated notice obligations and medical certification notices.
For more information, or if you are considering requesting a leave of
absence or a getting ready to return to work and are concerned about retaliation, contact
The Buckley Law Firm, LLC, a Georgia Law Firm dedicated to protecting employee’s rights.