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Can I Use FMLA Leave for My Child’s Special Education Meetings?


According to the Department of Labor (DOL), parents are allowed to request time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they need to attend an individualized education program (IEP) meeting regarding the type of special education their child is receiving. Schools in California are required to create IEPs for special needs students, per the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. As a result of the Act, schools have to frequently meet with IEP team members to determine if the plan needs to be revised. DOL released an opinion letter to tell parents they can take time off through the FMLA.

The issue of parents taking time off for IEP meetings gained attention after one mother asked her employer to take intermittent leave to care for her children with serious health conditions. While the woman’s employer allowed her to use FMLA leave to attend her children’s medical appointments, her request to attend IEP meetings was denied.

The DOL opinion letter states that an IEP meeting is considered a qualifying event for parents who have children with serious health issues. Because attending IEP meetings is a crucial part of determining the appropriate physical and/or psychological care to children, the DOL expanded the scope of intermittent FMLA leave to include any meetings “addressing the medical care, progress, and well-being of children receiving special education.”

Do you have a child with special needs or a serious health condition? Has your employer denied your FMLA request? If so, you need to speak to an attorney at K2 Employment Law Group to find out how to protect your rights. Call (800) 590-7674 today to schedule your free case consultation.