U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has introduced legislation to formally expand the definition of “family” under theto include “a same-sex spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling or grandparent.”
The FMLA entitles eligible employees to unpaid time off to care for family members with serious health conditions. The current definition of “family” does not include domestic partners, in-laws, adult children (unless they are disabled), siblings or grandparents.
The federal Defense of Marriage Act prevents any law from recognizing same-sex marriage. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor indicated that it would broadly interpret the definition of family when employees need time off to care for children.