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OPM Finalizes Rules Change to Include Same-Sex Couples Under FMLA

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued its final rule change to include federal employees in same-sex marriages under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

As of May 9th, the definition of “spouse” will be updated in the FMLA regulations under OPM to include same-sex spouses, making it compatible with the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling which struck down Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“The revised definition establishes in regulation that Federal employees who are in legal marriages with same-sex spouses can use their leave entitlement under FMLA in the same manner as Federal employees who are in legal marriages with opposite-sex spouses,” says the final rule.

Under the FMLA, legally married same-sex couples are eligible for federal employee benefits that include unpaid, job-protected leave for authorized family and medical reasons, with continued health care coverage while on leave. Federal employees are entitled to up 12 weeks of leave for reasons such as the birth, foster placement or adoption of a child; care for a sick spouse or dependent; personal health issues that preclude an employee from doing their job; and for the demands resulting from a family member’s active duty service in the military.

OPM originally published the proposed rule change in June 2014, and the final rule – which comes nearly three years after the Supreme Court’s decision in the United States v. Windsor case, codifies that guidance in federal statute.

The Labor Department, which issues FMLA regulations for mostly non-federal employees, published its final rule updating the definition of “spouse” in February 2015.

Posted in General News




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