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DOL Proposes Rule to Expand FMLA Protections for Same-sex Spouses

DOL Proposes Rule to Expand FMLA Protections for Same-sex SpousesOn June 20th, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule that would expand protections under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for same-sex spouses.

The primary change under the proposed rule involves revising the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA to:

  • Adopt a “place of celebration” rule (which is based on where the marriage was entered into), instead of the “state of residence” rule that currently applies
  • Expressly include same-sex marriages in addition to common law marriages, and encompass same-sex marriages entered into abroad that could have been entered into in at least one state

Under the proposed rule, eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages would be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouses or family members, regardless of where they live.

Impact on FMLA Leave Usage

The proposed change would mean that eligible employees, regardless of where they live, would be able to:

  • Take FMLA leave to care for their same-sex spouse with a serious health condition
  • Take qualifying exigency leave due to their same-sex spouse’s covered military service
  • Take military caregiver leave for their same-sex spouse

Next Steps for Employers

Please stay tuned to CBG Benefits as additional information is released regarding this proposed rule change.

In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to review how your company is meeting current FMLA compliance obligations.

Please download our “Employee Benefits Compliance Checklist” for a brief summary of actions that you may need to take.


Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Posted in: Benefits and Insurance, Human Resources, Legislation

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