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“Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Spouse Under FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act’s definition of “spouse” will change as of March 27, 2015 to include all same-sex spouses.

March 09, 2015


(press release: cdklawyers) // Dallas, Texas, United States // Keith Clouse
The Family and Medical Leave Act’s definition of “spouse” will change as of March 27, 2015 to include all same-sex spouses. This change follows the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision that struck the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s provision that excluded recognition of same-sex marriages by the federal government.

Under the FMLA, an eligible employee may take protected leave to care for a family member and extended leave to care for a family member wounded in the line of duty. With this new definition, eligible employees will be able to:
• take FMLA leave to care for a lawfully married same-sex spouse with a serious health condition,
• take qualifying exigency leave due to a lawfully married same-sex spouse’s covered military service, or
• take military caregiver leave for a lawfully married same-sex spouse.

The revision enables an eligible employee in a same-sex marriage to take FMLA leave, regardless of whether the employee resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages or not. For example, if a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts then moved to Texas, the employee could take FMLA leave to care for his spouse, even though the state of Texas does not recognize the union.

This article is presented by the Dallas employment attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP. To speak to an employment law attorney about the FMLA or another employment law issue, send an email to debra@clousedunn.com or call (214) 239-2705.