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What Is Considered Immediate Family?

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We hear the term ‘immediate family’ everywhere, but it’s most often heard in the work force. As many businesses will only offer benefits to immediate family, it’s very important to know who exactly is included in your ‘immediate family’. But what exactly does this term mean? I mean, for some, immediate family would include everyone that is closest to you whether they are a distant cousin or not; but would an employer agree? Find out who you should consider your actual immediate family.

Why is it important to know who is in your immediate family?

There are several reasons why discovering who your immediate family includes is important, but some of the most important reasons include the following:

-Immediate family members are entitled to health benefits that are offered by your employer.

-Immediate family members are also able to receive certain life insurance policies or other death benefits.

-You are able to take up to 12 weeks of leave from most jobs in the case of an immediate family member becoming ill or having a newborn child.

-Most jobs offer bereavement days to their employers for immediate family members.



-Some immediate family members may be eligible for preference when it comes to immigrant visas.

Whom do most employers consider immediate family members?

The easiest way to decide if someone is a part of your immediate family or not is to follow this list:

They are either: a spouse, your parents, grandparents, children (including adopted, half, and step children), grandchildren, siblings, and in-laws (including father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, and son).

You can also quickly and easily determine whether or not someone is in your immediate family by going by their relation to you: either by blood or by marriage.

Exceptions to the rules when determining immediate family members



There are, of course, certain exceptions to the rules when it comes to determining who your immediate family members are. Some employers will only accept your direct family unit as being your immediate family, the rest of your family being considered secondary members. However, certain employers will actually consider anyone living in your current household as your immediate family, whether they are connected to you by blood or marriage or not. Some of the reasoning an employer may have for determining immediate family is as follows:

-Distance: Distance is a very difficult way to determine who is or is not a part of an immediate family, as they will not consider distant relatives as immediate members as they are not ‘immediately’ around you. However, this does not include children who have moved far away- they are still considered immediate family members.

-Length of Time: Some employers will allow an individual to be a part of your immediate family if they have lived with you in your household for a minimum of one year.

-Relationship: Even if you are not close with your ‘immediate family’, the law will still consider them to be a part of your immediate family regardless of your personal relationship with them.

Domestic Partners: Many employers will offer certain benefits to domestic partners like health insurance benefits, however they must sign a certain agreement that is incredibly similar to an actual marriage contract. In this instance, the domestic partner is considered immediate family.

Extended Relatives: While most businesses will not include cousins or other extended relatives as your immediate family, there are certain exceptions to this rule. One of the biggest reasons why an employer may consider a cousin or distant relative an immediate family member is if this individual is living in your household for an extended period of time under special circumstances. For example: your cousins parents have both passed away, and they have lived with your for several years- they are then considered immediate family.

It is very important to know who is and who is not in your immediate family. Immediate family members may be eligible for certain benefits, whether they are health benefits or priority for immigrant visas. While we may each have our own beliefs and thoughts when it comes to who is in our immediate family it is important to note that the law has specific requirements for who is considered immediate family and must be treated as so.

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