The U.S. Department of Labor announced today (Monday, Feb. 23) it will release the final rule change extending the current definition of “spouse” to include same-sex spouses in the Family and Medical Leave Act Wednesday, Feb. 25 .
The change will go into effect on March 27.
Under the FMLA, according to the Labor Department, eligible employees of covered employers can take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. The new rule change would change the language from recognizing marriages based on “state of residence” to recognize marriages based on “place of celebration.”
A “place of celebration” rule allows all legally married couples, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, or married under common law, to have consistent federal family leave rights regardless of where they live.
The rule change comes as the battle for nation-wide recognition of same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court will hear four marriage cases in April and release their opinion in June. Until then a rule change like the FMLA is pertinent for same-sex couples who live in states that do not recognize marriage equality, including Texas.