New Definition of “Spouse” for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

March 27, 2015

in Compliance, Employee Benefits, Human Resources

Originally posted at http://benefitadvisorsnetwork.com/legal-alert/definition-spouse-fmla and used here with permission from the Benefit Advisors Network (BAN) of which Shirazi Benefits is a proud member agency, or Smart Partner.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its Final Rule revising the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Final Rule adopts a “place of celebration” rule, consistent with the current DOL interpretation in the context of other federal laws. Under this “celebration” rule, an employee may take FMLA leave to care for an ill same-sex spouse even if they couple resides in a state that does not permit or recognize their marriage, as long as they were married in a jurisdiction that allowed their marriage. The new definition includes individuals in lawfully recognized same-sex and common law marriages and marriages that were validly entered into outside of the U.S. if they could have been entered into in at least one state.

The DOL has issued a number of FAQs explaining the change. Many can be found on the DOL’s website here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/nprm-spouse/faq.htm

The effective date for the final rule is Today March 27, 2015.


Peter Marathas Employee Benefits Compliance DirectorPeter J. Marathas, Esq.

Heading both the Employee Benefits Practice in Proskauer’s Boston office and Proskauer’s Health Care Reform Task Force.

Legal & Compliance Director, Benefit Advisors Network

This post is a service to clients and friends of Shirazi Benefits, a member of the Benefit Advisors Network (BAN). It is designed only to give general information on the developments actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of recent developments in the law, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion.   Benefit Advisors Network and their smart partners are not attorneys and are not responsible for any legal advice. To fully understand how this or any legal or compliance information affects your unique situation, you should check with a qualified attorney.


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