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Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Other Issues

Family Friendly Leave

What are Family Friendly Leave policies?

Eligible employees may use accrued sick leave for family care purposes. Most full-time employees may use up to 13 days of sick leave for general family care and bereavement purposes, i.e, to:

  • provide care for a family member who is incapacitated due to physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth; or who requires assistance to go to medical, optical, or dental examinations or treatments or
  • make arrangements for and attend the funeral of a family member.

This period may be extended to a total of 12 weeks of accrued sick leave each year if the employee is caring for a family member with a serious health condition. However, to use more than 40 hours, an employee must maintain a sick leave balance of 80 hours at all times.

Why are Family Friendly Leave policies addressed in a booklet about sexual orientation discrimination?

These Family Friendly Leave policies are of particular interest to lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees because the definition of a "family member" for purposes of family care sick leave includes "any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship."

For more information or for an explanation of how sick leave policies apply to employees with part-time or uncommon tours of duty, contact your servicing human resources office.

How can I get more information about Family Friendly Leave?

Departmental policy on Family Friendly Leave may be found on the Office of Human Resources Management's web site at http://ohrm.doc.gov/information/handbook/leave(toc).htm. General information can be found on the OPM web site at www.opm.gov. For information on how these policies are administered at the Department of Commerce, contact your servicing human resources office.

Employee Assistance Program

What services are provided by the Employee Assistance Program?

Employees may obtain assistance to help them manage the effects of discrimination, workplace stress or other mental health concerns from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Available services include confidential counseling and referrals to mental health service providers and support groups.

EAP services are also available to immediate family members including same-sex partners and children.

The EAP serving the Hoover Building, can be reached at 1-800-222-0364 (Voice).  Please see the following link for more detailed information: Employee Assistance Program | U.S. Department of Commerce If you work at another location, contact your servicing human resources office for the number of the EAP serving your facility. TTY users may use the Federal Relay Service to contact an EAP counselor. (1-800-877-8339).