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US Labor Department updates FMLA definition of spouse

The U.S. Labor Department announced a rule change to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. That ruling struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.

Workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, will now have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to federal job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a spouse with a serious health condition.

FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.  The rule change updates the FMLA regulatory definition of “spouse” so that an eligible employee in a legal same-sex marriage will be able to take FMLA leave for his or her spouse regardless of the state in which the employee resides.  The updated rule is based on the law of the place where the marriage was entered into " the “place of celebration” provision.

If you have any questions about this updated rule or any other questions, please feel free to comment below or send us an email at [email protected] or reach us by phone toll-free at 855-427-0427.

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