WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday issued a final rule revising the regulatory definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to include married, same-sex couples.
The Final Rule amends the regulatory definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take federal job-protected family and medical leave to care for their spouse or family member, regardless of where they live.
Previously, the definition didn’t apply to same-sex couples who resided in a state that does not recognize such unions.
Article continues belowNow, the definition applies in all 50 states and means that family medical leave must be extended to same-sex spouses.
“The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between the job and income they need, and caring for a loved one,” says DOL Secretary Thomas Perez in the statement.
According to the Williams Institute, the new rule could affect up to 118,000 people in same-sex relationships in the United States.
The effective date for the final rule is March 27, 2015.