DOL: Intermittent FMLA leave can be used to attend these school meetings Discussions about children’s health need qualify under law Now that the school year’s started, you may see parents take time off from work to attend their children’s school functions. Be aware: In certain cases, this may qualify as intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In a recent opinion letter, the Dept. of Labor (DOL) offered insight about when a parent would be eligible to take FMLA leave to attend education-related meetings. Essential part of care The Letter discussed a situation where an employee was approved for intermittent FMLA leave to take her children with qualifying medical conditions to medical appointments. But her employer wouldn’t allow her to use leave to attend school meetings. At the meetings, a team of teachers and medical professionals discussed the children’s medical and educational needs for their individualized education plans. They also gave updates on the children’s progress. The children’s occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech pathologists regularly attended these meetings, along with the school’s psychologist and school administrators. When asked if the meeting would be a qualifying reason for the employee to take intermittent leave under the FMLA, the DOL said yes. Because these school meetings are held to address the children’s medical needs in an educational setting, the agency said they’re an important part of providing care for the children’s medical conditions. Along with providing direct medical care for a person with a serious medical condition, FMLA leave can be taken to coordinate any changes in their care plan. This includes making any medical decisions on the ill person’s behalf or finding appropriate arrangements to accommodate their condition. Ultimately, the DOL said, the parent’s presence at these meetings was “essential to (her) ability to provide appropriate physical or psychological care” to her children. She attended the meetings so she could make decisions that affected their health, the DOL opinion letter made clear. More info: