Legal Alert - Department of Labor Expands FMLA Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses


by Jennifer R. Phillips

Same-sex spousal rights, particularly in the area of employment law, are in a state of flux. This conundrum will hopefully be resolved later this year when the U.S. 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.1

In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) took action of its own this week, announcing a Final Rule to revise the definition of "spouse" under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. The Final Rule amends the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouse or family member, regardless of where they currently live or work.

[Read the full alert.]