Recently the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed regulations that would extend Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections to same-sex spouses. These proposed regulations are widely anticipated to become final after a brief public comment period.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. These reasons include being entitled to take FMLA leave to care for a spouse who has a serious health condition. Currently, the regulations recognize same-sex spouses for purposes of FMLA leave but only if the employee resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. The proposed changes would modify the current rule to extend protections to same-sex spouses regardless of where the employee resides so long as the marriage is recognized in at least one state. Furthermore, the FMLA protections would extend to children of an employee’s same-sex spouse as stepchildren and to same-sex spouses of an employee’s parent under the stepparent designation. Once the final rule is adopted, we will know the full extent of the changes and when those changes become effective, and we will notify you accordingly.
Practically speaking, the proposed FMLA regulations usher in big changes. The Education Group at Bose McKinney & Evans can help ensure your organization is informed and ready to manage any labor and employment issue that may arise in 2014, and we will keep you posted on any development regarding the proposed FMLA regulations. Please contact Chuck Rubright or Jon Mayes with any questions or concerns.