News & Analysis as of

DOL Issues Notice of Proposed FMLA Rule that Offers Equal Leave Rights to Same-Sex Spouses

On June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). If adopted, employees in same-sex marriages...more

Same-Sex Marriage Recognized as Valid in Non-Recognition State for Purposes of Interpreting the Bankruptcy Code

As a result of two Federal trial court decisions issued May 19, 2014 and May 20, 2014, Oregon and Pennsylvania became the 18th and 19th states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. In these decisions, U.S....more

DOL Seeks to Extend FMLA Rights Relating to Same-Sex Spouses

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking on June 27, 2014, announcing a proposal that would expand the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include all...more

eTrends - Proposed Rule Would Revise FMLA’s Definition of “Spouse”

The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed a rule to revise the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) to afford same-sex married couples the same rights as heterosexual...more

Ripples of Windsor: DOL Seeking to Expand the FMLA’s Definition of “Spouse”

Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) as unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The Supremes ruled that section 3 of DOMA...more

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes to Change Rule Regarding Who Is a Same-Sex Spouse under the FMLA

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its intention to change the regulatory definition of who is a “spouse” for purposes of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The impetus for the...more

Same-sex marriage and the FMLA: What you need to know

As most of you have heard by now, the U.S. Department of Labor has provided a “sneak preview” of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the definition of “spouse” in the Family and Medical Leave Act. The proposed changes would...more

DOMA, One Year After Marriage Ruling

It hardly seems like it's been an entire year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a huge portion of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which precluded the federal government from recognizing the legally valid...more

FMLA Benefits May Be Extended for Same-Sex Spouses

Under current law, an eligible employee may take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for a same-sex spouse only if they reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. If the employee lives in a state...more

DOL Proposes To Amend FMLA’s Definition of ‘Spouse’

A year after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed to amend its regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act...more

DOL Proposes to Expand the Availability of FMLA Leave to All Same-Sex Spouses

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the Wage and Hour Division for the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a proposed rule that would extend the spousal leave protections afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to...more

Obama Administration Announces Proposed Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights for Same-Sex Couples

President Obama plans to announce today a proposed rule that would allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status. ...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses

Employers have been considering the impact on benefit programs, including the qualified retirement plans, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing the validity of same sex marriages. In September, 2013, the IRS issued...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...more

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

U.S. Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Pennsylvania

Today, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania nullified Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws, holding that they violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If the ruling stands...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Earlier today, Harrisburg-based Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. In this landmark ruling, Jones concluded that "same-sex couples who seek to marry in...more

ERISA: Self-Funded Benefit Plans May Not Have To Cover Same-Sex Spouses?

You already know that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages, was declared unconstitutional. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)....more

Whitewood v. Wolf: Navigating the Sea of Change for Marriage Equality

It has been a momentous year for marriage equality in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 2013 decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding the ruling on Proposition 8’s unconstitutionality...more

Welfare Benefit Plan Might Not Be Required To Cover Same Sex Spouses

Much has been written about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision last term declaring unconstitutional the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal law not to recognize same sex marriages....more

How The Windsor Decision Applies To Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently furnished employers with welcome guidance concerning coverage of same-sex spouses in qualified plans. In a new Notice, the Service discusses how qualified arrangements such as...more

IRS Guidance On Same-Gender Marriage - What Actions Should Plan Sponsors Take Now

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, the IRS announced in Revenue Ruling 2013-17 that lawfully married same-sex couples would be treated as married for all Internal Revenue Code purposes. On...more

New IRS Guidance Establishes When Retirement Plans Must Be Amended To Provide Retirement Benefit Rights To Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) stated that qualified retirement plans (e.g., profit-sharing, 401(k), pension plans, etc.) must...more

New IRS Rules on Same Sex Marriages and How the Rules Affect Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

In the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor (Windsor), the Court held that, for federal purposes, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Although the dispute in the Windsor...more

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