The Department of Labor Just Announced New Protections for Parents of Special Needs Children

by Evil HR Lady on August 12, 2019

If you have a child with learning or physical disabilities, you’re probably familiar with IEPs–Individual Education Plans. The Department of Labor just released an opinion letter that says that IEP meetings are covered under FMLA and that any such meetings are protected time (as long as you otherwise meet the qualifications for FMLA). Managers are required to allow eligible employees time off (unpaid) for IEP meetings.

What do managers and HR need to know?

The most important take away is that when a parent says, “I need time off for an IEP meeting,” the answer is, “I hope everything goes well. We’ll see you when you get back.” That should, of course, be the answer to other school meetings, but now this has the force of FMLA behind the IEP.

FMLA attorney Jeff Nowak gave some clear guidelines to help managers figure this out. He writes:

  1. Employers should treat a request for FMLA leave to attend an IEP meeting consistent with how they handle all other intermittent FMLA leave requests. That said, the employee is required to provide notice for a foreseeable leave of absence and provide appropriate certification to support the leave request.  In most instances, this should not be a last-minute leave request.

To keep reading, click here: The Department of Labor Just Announced New Protections for Parents of Special Needs Children

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