Labor Dept rules IEP meetings a valid reason for family and medical leave

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an opinion letter stating parents and guardians are allowed to use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) intermittently to attend Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings with teachers, school administrators and others involved in planning education services for children with special needs.
  • The letter was in response to a family’s complaint that the mother’s employer allowed her to use FLMA time for her two children’s medical appointments, but not for meetings at school. Cheryl M. Stanton, a DOL administrator, wrote that a child’s doctor does not have to be present at an IEP meeting for the parent to qualify for FMLA leave.
  • IEP meetings, Stanton wrote, “help participants make medical decisions concerning your children’s medically prescribed speech, physical and occupational therapy; to discuss your children’s well-being and progress with the providers of such services, and to ensure that your children’s school environment is suitable to their medical, social and academic needs.”