Click here to skip navigation
This website uses features which update page content based on user actions. If you are using assistive technology to view web content, please ensure your settings allow for the page content to update after initial load (this is sometimes called "forms mode"). Additionally, if you are using assistive technology and would like to be notified of items via alert boxes, please follow this link to enable alert boxes for your session profile.
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Pay & Leave Leave Administration

Fact Sheet: Definitions Related to Family Member and Immediate Relative for Purposes of Sick Leave, Funeral Leave, Voluntary Leave Transfer, Voluntary Leave Bank, and Emergency Leave Transfer

On June 14, 2010, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management issued final regulations to modify its definitions of family member and immediate relative, and add related definitions (75 FR 33491), in response to Section 1 of the President's June 17, 2009, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination. The purpose of these changes is to promote consistent application of policy across the Federal Government and to help the Federal Government compete with the private sector to recruit and retain the best and the brightest employees.

These new and revised definitions modify the regulations at 5 CFR part 630, subparts B, H, I, J, and K, related to the use of sick leave, funeral leave, voluntary leave transfer, voluntary leave bank, and emergency leave transfer and expand the categories of individuals for whom an employee may use these types of leave.

Family Member

An individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:

  1. Spouse, and parents thereof;
  2. Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;
  3. Parents, and spouses thereof;
  4. Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;
  5. Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;
  6. Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners of any individual in 2 through 5 of this definition; and
  7. Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Immediate Relative

An individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:

  1. Spouse, and parents thereof;
  2. Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;
  3. Parents, and spouses thereof;
  4. Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;
  5. Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;
  6. Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners of any individual in 1 through 5 of this definition; and
  7. Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Parent
  1. A biological, adoptive, step, or foster parent of the employee, or a person who was a foster parent of the employee when the employee was a minor;
  2. A person who is the legal guardian of the employee or was the legal guardian of the employee when the employee was a minor or required a legal guardian; 
  3. A person who stands in loco parentis to the employee or stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor or required someone to stand in loco parentis; or
  4. A parent (as described in the above subparagraphs) of an employee's spouse or domestic partner.
Son or Daughter
  1. A biological, adopted, step, or foster son or daughter of the employee;
  2. A person who is a legal ward or was a legal ward of the employee when that individual was a minor or required a legal guardian;
  3. A person for whom the employee stands in loco parentis or stood in loco parentis when that individual was a minor or required someone to stand in loco parentis; or
  4. A son or daughter (as described in 1-3) of an employee's spouse or domestic partner.
Domestic Partner

An adult in a committed relationship with another adult, including both same sex and opposite-sex relationships.

Committed Relationship

A relationship in which the employee, and the domestic partner of the employee, are each other's sole domestic partner (and are not married to or domestic partners with anyone else); and share responsibility for a significant measure of each other's common welfare and financial obligations. This includes, but is not limited to, any relationship between two individuals of the same or opposite sex that is granted legal recognition by a State or by the District of Columbia as a marriage or analogous relationship (including, but not limited to, a civil union).

Note:

The new definitions do not apply to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The situations in which an employee can invoke FMLA leave and the individuals for whom an employee can provide care under FMLA are specified in law and the Department of Labor (DOL) Administrator's Interpretation No. 2010-3, which clarifies the definition of "son or daughter" under FMLA as it applies to an employee standing "in loco parentis" to a child. (See CPM 2010-15.)

References:

  • 5 CFR 630.201, 630.803, 630.902, 630.1002, and 630.1102

Back to Top

Control Panel