Department of Labor Extends FMLA to Same-Sex Marriage

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EmpBlog-8.21.2013-Same-sex-FMLAThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a regulatory guidance confirming that same-sex married couples are entitled to the same benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as more traditional heterosexual married couples.  The guidance indicates that FMLA spousal leave entitlements extend to same-sex spouses that reside in states that recognize same-sex marriages.

The FMLA provides qualified individuals with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under certain circumstances, such as to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.  The FMLA defines “spouse” under state law for purposes of marriage in the state where the employee resides.  Given the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which held the federal law defining marriage as between persons of the opposite sex for purposes of federal benefits unconstitutional, same-sex couples in states where same-sex marriage is legal will be eligible for certain federal benefits, including those available under the FMLA.

At present, Washington, D.C. and 13 states recognize same-sex marriages – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2013.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

Topics:  DOL, DOMA, Employee Benefits, FMLA, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, SCOTUS, WINDs

Published In: Civil Rights Updates, Family Law Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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