Change to Definition of a “Spouse” Under The FMLA

Mar 19

Written by:
3/19/2015 11:30 AM  RssIcon

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that defines how the term “Spouse” under FMLA applies to same-sex marriages.

The definition has essentially been changed to refer to the state where a marriage was entered into, the “place of celebration,” rather than the employee’s current state of residence. This change is significant, because it will provide FMLA protections to employees who were married in a state that allows same-sex marriage, but reside in a state that does not.

Previously, an employer in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage could effectively deny FMLA for the serious health condition of a same-sex spouse, as they did not meet the regulatory definition.

The final rule was issued on February 25, 2015, and takes effect on March 27, 2015.

Click here for more information on the final rule.


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