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How Much Time Can I Take Off Work to Care for a Sick Parent and Keep My Job?

April 1, 2022 Legal Team

It can be very scary when your parent gets sick and needs help caring for themselves. If you’re similar to most people in the United States, you must work in order to keep food on the table and a roof over your head.

Luckily, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for their parent with a serious health condition.

Read on to learn more about your rights under the FMLA.

Definitions Under the FMLA

First, it’s wise to know the legal definitions of some of the terms used in the FMLA.


The Department of Labor (DOL) defines a parent as “the biological parent of an employee or an individual who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a son or daughter.”

Loco Parentis

According to the DOL, “In loco parentis refers to the type of relationship in which a person has put themselves in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child. It exists when an individual intends to take on the role of a parent.“

Entitlements Under the FMLA

You have the right to provide care for a biological, adoptive, step, or foster parent who stood in loco parentis to you when you were young and required childcare.

However, it is important to keep in mind that “parent” does not include parents-in-law under the DOL’s definition.

We Can Help

If your rights as an employee have been violated, you may be owed compensation to help cover your losses. Don’t delay—reach out to our team right away to learn more about how we can help.

Contact our team of skilled attorneys today with the details of your case by calling (949) 379-6250 or by filling out the online contact form.