FMLA Rules to Expand Definition of Spouse to Include Same-Sex Spouses

The Department of Labor has announced new rules expanding the definition of “spouse” under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Under the new rules, eligible employees may take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse.  The new rules become effective March 27, 2015.

The FMLA applies to employers with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.  To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must have worked for the company at least 1,250 hours within the previous 12 months.  FMLA provides for unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain qualifying reasons, including:  the employee’s own serious health condition; to care for a family member with a serious health condition; for the birth of a child; for bonding time with a child; for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with that child; and certain military family leave entitlements.

Selena Smith represents employers on a full range of labor and employment issues, including FMLA-related questions.  For more information contact Selena at, or (206) 447-0182.

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