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Same-Sex Spouses Now Protected Under the FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) now covers same-sex spouses. This overdue coverage was made possible after the Department of Labor modified its regulations to re-define “spouse” so as to cover all same-sex marriages.

The revised FMLA regulations now use the “state of celebration” rule rather than the “state of residence” rule to define “spouse.” Therefore, a same-sex couple who marries in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage will be protected under the FMLA regardless of whether the couple later moves to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. You can read the full text of the Final Rule here.

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons for up to twelve weeks within a twelve month period of time.