Final Rule – FMLA Protections for Same-Sex Spouses
Employee Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses
The times are a-changing in the working world. On February 25, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule that expands protections under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for same-sex spouses. This final rule, effective March 27, 2015, revises the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA to:
- Adopt a “place of celebration” rule, which is based on where the marriage was entered into, in place of the “state of residence” rule that applied under prior DOL guidance
- Expressly include same-sex marriages in addition to common-law marriages and encompasses same-sex marriages entered into abroad that could have been entered into in at least one U.S. state
Under the final rule, eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouses, regardless of where they live.
It’s imperative that employers review and update their FMLA policies and procedures as necessary. Additionally, they should train employees who are involved in the leave management process on the expanded rules for same-sex spouses under the FMLA. Ensure your HR Team understands these updates and communicates them to every employee. To remain competitive with prospective talent, and accommodating with current employees, continue to stay educated on trends benefiting all employees.
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