Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DOL Recognizes Same Sex Marriage for FMLA

The Department of Labor has started officially recognizing employers' obligation to recognize state-recognized same-sex spouses for purposes of FMLA (that's a lot of recognizing). Fact Sheet #28F: Qualifying Reasons for Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act defines "spouse" as:
Spouse means a husband or wife as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage in the state where the employee resides, including “common law” marriage and same-sex marriage.
This is hardly surprising given that the FMLA regulations already defined spouse as:
[A] husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides, including common law marriage in States where it is recognized. 29 C.F.R. 825.102.
Of course, before the Supreme Court's ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, DOMA limited this to only opposite-sex marriages. After Windsor, the regulation presumably encompassed same-sex marriages as well. The DOL guidance merely affirms what we thought we already knew.

HT: Janine Gismondi via email.

Image: DOL seal used in commentary on DOL. Not official use.