Changes to the FMLA!

FMLAThe Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows employees to take time off from work because of their own serious medical condition; to care for a spouse, a parent, or a child; or for certain military family leave.

Click here to view the Triage Cancer Fact Sheet on the FMLA.

While the FMLA can prove to be a useful tool for caregivers, to help balance job responsibilities and time spent caregiving, caregivers are only able to take time off if they are caring for a spouse, a parent, or a child. That doesn’t include parents-in-law, grandparents, siblings, or aunts or uncles. And until recently, the FMLA’s definition of “spouse” looked to the law of the place where people currently live, rather than where the marriage took place.

This meant that if a couple were legally married in one state, but moved to a state where same-sex marriage was not legal, than they would not be able to use the FMLA.

The Department of Labor has released a final rule, which:

  • Changes the definition of spouse to include individuals who are in legal same-sex marriages, common law marriages, and marriages that were validly entered into outside of the U.S., if they could have been entered into in at least one U.S. state.
  • Looks to the state law where the marriage took place, rather than where the couple lives

This final rule goes into effect on March 27, 2015.

For information about the FMLA, visit

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