FMLA - My 15yr Old Daugher Is Pregnant

Hello All!!

We have an employee who has submitted FMLA paperwork to take leave in late February 2011 because her 15yr old daughter is pregnant. The employee is requesting the leaving stating that she will be providing transportation to the hospital for the birth of her grandchild, and will also be teaching her 15yr old the appropriate way of being a first time parent for an infant (my wife and I learned from a book and trial/error. We told our mothers to stay home...course we were 24 at the time).

The doctor for the 15yr old is certifying, stating that the 'dependent' will need much assistance caring for self and newborn baby following delivery of infant.

The question I have is whether this qualifies under FMLA? We know that pregnancy is not a serious health condition on its own, but complications (morning sickness, etc...) can get it there. So, I guess from that perspective the mother would be caring for her 15yr old, and the pregnancy could enter the serious health condition arena. I'm just making sure I'm not missing something here before I approve.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.

san antonio, tx


  • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is a tough one. Of course she's going to need assistance caring for herself and the child (she's a child herself), but that doesn't make it a serious health condition. The doctor here doesn't seem to understand the difference between a serious medical condition and a tough family situation. How much time does she want off? I would say this does not qualify unless real complications actually occur, but I would want to fly it by an employment lawyer before I turned her down. Teaching your child to be a parent is not a qualifying medical situation. You can always avoid the issue by approving it, but I don't know if I'd want to set that kind of precedent since something tells me we're going to see more of these situations. Good luck.

  • If this were limited to the delivery date and a week or two afterwards, it would probably be fine. Unfortunately, it sounds as if you may be setting yourself up for an intermittent FMLA headache that could last for a few years.
  • I had a 15 year old pregnant daughter (she turned 16 before the baby was born) so I can really identify with this poor parent. I was also going to school nights, so this became a real balancing act.

    I took some vacation the week the baby was born. My daughter had a job too, so we coordinated. She stayed home the 2-3 nights I went to school, and I babysat the other evenings and weekends while she worked. Otherwise, mommy pretty much took baby with her everywhere. Hubby and I paid for diapers, formula, and healthcare. Mommy paid for childcare so she could stay in school. One of the proudest days of my life was the day she walked across the stage for her diploma.

    The point I am making is that other than the first few days and a few phone calls at work, it didn't take much for her to be able to take care of the baby. She had friends with younger siblings, so that helped (plus her younger sister was 6 years younger). And let's not forget that many people learn to babysit around age 13. It would be nice if your employee could take some vacation at the birth, and if you could make it easier for her to get phone calls, but I don't think she needs to take a lot of time off (unless the baby is unhealthy). I don't think this is really FMLA, but you may need to talk to a lawyer with your specific facts.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the responses. It validated my thoughts (I LOVE VALIDATION)!!

    san antonio, tx
  • It is possible your employee would be entitled to leave to care for the baby (even if it is perfectly healthy) if she intends to take an active role in parenting it. In that situation, she could be considered a sort of second parent to the baby under the FMLA's in loco parentis provision. It would be the same as any new parent taking leave to be with a new baby.

    The DOL issued a recent interpretation of in loco parentis that you should probably consult. Here is a link:


  • Whoa. The employee is requesting FMLA to care for a family member (daughter). It doesn't really matter what the medical problem of the family member long as there is a doctor properly completing FMLA forms (US Dept Labor WH380-F) certifying the care is needed. You don't know if there are mitigating conditions...& exactly what, if there is, is none of your business. (Mental condition or ability, physical disability, high-risk pregnancy...the list is endless. Bottom line is the doc says the family member/daughter needs medically necessary care by the employee).

    Is the employee asking for intermittant or continuous leave? Remind the employee that the amount of leave is capped (however you count it...calendar, rolling, etc) & that you will use up ALL her paid time before granting unpaid time. If the request is for continuous, then the FMLA is done when the employee first comes back. If the employee hasn't used up all the leave time & now wants intermittant, then a new set of papers needs to be completed; which should change everything except the total amount of time. Focus on the care being given to the daughter here...that's the FMLA requested. The in loco parentis business is down the road...& another FMLA request if doesn't apply to the present request.
  • lorilori, I think you missed in the original post where the person stated that the FMLA request was being made for late February 2011, and the time was being requested to take her daughter to the hospital for the birth of the baby and to help the daughter [U]after[/U] the baby is born. The daughter's doctor certified for that time frame, stating the dependent would need assistance [I]following the delivery of the baby[/I]. This is why mention was made of in loco parentis.
  • Yes, that's how I understood it as well.
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