Family Medical Leave Act Business Law Alert

On February 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an update to the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Under the FMLA, eligible employees can take FMLA leave to, among other things, care for their spouse.  Under the old regulation, a same sex spouse was only recognized as a spouse for FMLA purposes if the employee lived in a state where same sex marriage was recognized. The new regulation expands the definition of “spouse.”  Under the new regulation, a spouse, for FMLA purposes, includes any individual who: (a) entered into a same sex or common law marriage in a state that recognized such marriages (regardless of where the employee lives), or (b) entered into a marriage outside the U.S., provided the marriage was (i) valid in the place where it was entered into, and (ii) could have been entered into in at least one U.S. state. 

As a result of the regulatory change, employers should promptly review their FMLA policies to make certain their policies are up to date and not in conflict with the new regulations.  The new regulations go into effect on March 27, 2015.

The attorneys at Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato LLP are prepared to answer any questions you may have regarding this Business Law Alert. If you would like to speak with an attorney about any of the issues raised in this Business Law Alert, please contact your servicing attorney. Information contained in this Business Law Alert should not be construed as legal advice or opinion.