March 27, 2015
Authored by: Christy Phanthavong and Chris Rylands
The U.S. Department of Labor’s issuance of a final rule amending the definition of “spouse” in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) regulations has inspired us to prepare a new series of FMLA-related blog posts on the subject of “FMLA Rules for Couples.”
We start our discussion by asking what may not seem like the obvious question in light of the new rule: Which couples do not have FMLA rights under the new definition of spouse?
The answer is relatively straight-forward: Couples who are not legally married under U.S. laws, or whose lawful marriage outside the U.S. could not have been entered into in at least one U.S. state, are not considered “spouses” for purposes of the FMLA.
Thus, while opposite-sex couples in lawful marriages, same-sex couples