DOL Proposes to Adopt State of Celebration Rule to Determine FMLA Rights of Employees in Same-Sex Marriages
June 23, 2014
Authored by: benefitsbclp
Presently, the federal government uses different rules for different purposes when determining whether a same sex marriage will be recognized. The IRS and the majority of other government agencies use the state of celebration rule for purposes of determining whether a same sex marriages will be recognized. Under this rule, a same sex marriage is recognized so long as it was recognized in the state in which is was performed. However, the DOL uses the state of residence rule for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) purposes. Under this rule, a same sex marriage is recognized only if it is recognized in the state in which the couple resides. The resulting inconsistency is confusing and complicates administration of employee benefits.
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced on Friday that the Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a rule to revise the definition of spouse under the FMLA to include all eligible employees in same-sex and common-law marriages. “Under the proposed revisions, the FMLA will be applied to all families equally, enabling individuals in same-sex marriages to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities to their families,” states Perez. The proposal is in keeping with the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2013 ruling to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Windsor decision.
The main highlights of the DOL’s proposal are as follows:
- Moving from the current state of residence rule to place of celebration rule; and
- Revising the