The revised "spouse" definition now extends leave rights and job protections to eligible employees in same-sex marriages and common-law marriages entered into in a state where those statuses are legally recognized, regardless of the state in which the employee currently works or resides. Previously, the FMLA definition of "spouse" did not include same-sex spouses or common law spouses if the employee resided in a state that did not recognize the employee's same-sex marriage and did not provide for a common-law marriage. As most employers know, the FMLA requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for qualified medical and family reasons, including personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, or foster care placement.
This distinction became particularly significant after the U. Before Windsorthat section restricted the definition of marriage for purposes of federal law to opposite-sex marriages. Consequently, federal FMLA leave was generally not available to same-sex married couples even in states that recognized gay marriage.
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If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips. To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. This will limit your search to that combination of words. Matt Dunning.
Earlier this year, HR Legalist announced the U. The Final Rule was set to go into effect on March 27, Hodgesholding that the U.
In Octoberthe New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to equal protection and, thus, are qualified for the same statutory rights and benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples. See Lewis v. Harris, N.
The U. Employers should review and revise their FMLA policy to ensure compliance with the new rule. Until recently, there has been a confusing and somewhat unmanageable split of opinion between state and federal law on the ability of same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits of laws like the FMLA, which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leaves of absence for various reasons, including to care for family members with serious health conditions.
The U. The new definition takes effect on March 27, It also affords an employee who is the spouse of a servicemember the ability to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
Skip to content. Same-sex spousal rights, particularly in the area of employment law, are in a state of flux. Supreme Court issues a ruling on a collection of four cases concerning the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state. In the meantime, the U.