Some points to remember are:
1) A Family Member is the same as defined in the current regulations on sick leave. The intent of the regulation is to be family-friendly and to provide a benefit that goes beyond the traditional nuclear family. (i.e., grandparent or stepchild is included)
2) The definition of Serious Health Condition has the same meaning as found in OPMís regulations at 5 CFR 630.1202 for administering the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
3) 5 CFR 630.401 makes it clear that a maximum of 12 weeks of your sick leave may be used for all family care purposes. If you have previously used sick leave during the year for general family care purposes, that leave must be subtracted from the 12-week maximum. The amount of sick leave you can use under 5 CFR 630.401 (a)(3)(i) and (a)(4) may not exceed a total of 104 hours.
4) You may request to use up to 12 weeks of your sick leave each year for FMLA purposes, in lieu of FMLA leave without pay if you are caring for a family member with a serious health condition. OR, you may request to use up to 12 weeks of sick leave each year to care for a family member with a serious health condition and then invoke your entitlement to 12 weeks of FMLA leave without pay to care for your family member (5 CFR 630.401).
5) 5 CFR 630.403(c) permits an Agency to request a statement from you concerning the family memberís need for psychological comfort and/or physical care.
6) Medical certification should be requested in order to support that a serious health condition exists. (5 CFR 630.403(b)). An employee must provide administratively acceptable evidence no later than 15 calendar days after the date of the agency request. If it is not practicable under the particular circumstances to provide the requested evidence within 15 calendar days, despite the employee's diligent, good faith efforts, the employee must provide the evidence or medical certification within a reasonable period of time under the circumstances involved, but no later than 30 calendar days after the date the agency requests such documentation. An employee who does not provide the required evidence or medical certification within the specified time period is not entitled to sick leave.
7) Management should continue to maintain internal records on the amount of sick leave used each leave year for family care or bereavement purposes to ensure that you do not exceed the limitations of 5 CFR 630.401(b) & (c).
PLEASE NOTE: These serious health condition entitlements do not permit you to use sick leave for routine childcare or to care for children with minor childhood ailments. This care for a family member does not include care for a healthy newborn child (bonding). Once the new motherís incapacitation ends, there is no further entitlement to use sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Sick leave is granted to birth parents only for the period of the motherís incapacitation. The birth parents must use annual leave and/or leave without pay for absences from work beyond the motherís period of incapacitation. There is no provision in law or regulation that permits the use of sick leave by birth parents or adoptive parents who voluntarily choose to be absent from work to bond with a birth or adopted child.
See more information at: OPM under the Leave Administration section.