The Obama administration Tuesday expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to partially include gay families. A new definition of a son or daughter announced by the Labor Department allows gay workers access to unpaid time off under the FMLA.

The law allows employees working for businesses with 50 or more workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to take care of a newborn child, adopt or assume care for a foster child, or care for a loved one (spouse, child or parent) or themselves.

The agency's new definition extends the familial bond beyond a legal or biological relationship, extending the parental definition to anyone who is assuming the role of caring for a child.

“No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement.

“The Labor Department's action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA,” she added.

There were no plans to extend the FMLA to the spouses of gay and lesbian workers. That would require repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies.

“At the end of the day, to address challenges that face gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, not only will the administration need to take regulatory actions like this, but Congress will have to make changes too,” Kevin Nix, communications director for the Family Equality Council told gay weekly Metro Weekly.

Nix, however, stressed that the regulation change would benefit the two million children being raised by LGBT parents.

The AP is reporting that the administration has no plans to ask Congress to alter the law, which means future administrations could reverse the decision.