This month, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced an update related to same-sex marriage and the spousal definition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Currently the FMLA definition of spouse links directly with state law; however, after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor absence management professionals were expecting the DOL to reconsider their definition of spouse.

See Also: Managing an Absent Workforce: A Guide to the Family Medical Leave Act (White Paper)

Since some states do not recognize same-sex marriages the FMLA left a gap for individuals that were married under state law but it may not have been recognized in their state of residence.  Currently  couples that live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages are  not covered as “spouses” under the FMLA. Once the change is implemented, this policy will be modified on a federal level.

The DOL indicated their regulatory change will “fully implement the Supreme Court’s decision”.  Timing is unclear at this time but Spring will continue to provide updates.

More information about this DOL FMLA announcement can be found here.

Have questions about the FMLA or any of the recent DOL rulings? Contact our Integrated Disability Management Team and we will be happy to help out.

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Teri Weber

Teri Weber

Partner at Spring Consulting Group, LLC
Teri Weber, ACI is a Partner with Spring Consulting Group. She has over 10 years of experience in health and welfare plan strategy, design, pricing, and implementation. She also works with absence management programs, including disability, family medical leave and leave of absence tracking. Her areas of expertise have allowed her to work with diverse employers and vendors to streamline processes and programs to meet the needs of insurers, administrators, employers and employees. Teri is on the Board for the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) and recently served as lead editor for the Disability Management Employer Coalition’s (DMEC) Return to Work Program Manual. Prior to joining Spring, Teri worked with Watson Wyatt, Buck Consultants and AON Consulting. In addition she was an Account Manager with Health Direct, Inc. Teri earned a BS at the University of Connecticut and a MBA at the University of Massachusetts. She holds an ACI designation and is a licensed broker in the states of MA and CT.