Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Regarding Definition of Spouse Under FMLA
The DOL issued a press release today announcing the issuance of its final rule regarding the definition of "spouse" under the FMLA. The final rule amends the federal FMLA regulations to make clear that “spouses” entitled to FMLA protections include same-sex spouses who were legally married in any state (or outside the country), regardless of whether the state in which they currently reside recognizes same-sex marriages. This clears up confusion that resulted from the DOL’s prior definition, which focused on the place of residence (as opposed to place of marriage) to determine whether a same-sex marriage was lawful and entitled to protection under the FMLA. The new definition, which focuses on the “place of celebration,” takes effect March 27, 2015. The final rule is available here.