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DOL to Enforce Same-Sex Spouses FMLA Regulation In All But Four States

Posted in FMLA and Other Leaves of Absence, Labor Law, New Legislation and Regulations

In our previous post, Same-Sex Marriage Partners Now Covered by FMLA, we reported on the final FMLA rule that expanded the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA to include employees in legal same-sex marriages. Although this rule took effect on March 27, 2015, a federal district court ruling in Texas left the status of the new rule in limbo.

After the DOL issued its final rule, Attorneys General in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska filed suit in a federal district court in Texas asking the court to strike down the DOL’s final rule. The court granted an injunction and halted the DOL’s enforcement of its final rule.

Given this ruling, it was uncertain what the DOL would do. Thankfully, the DOL has since represented that it will not enforce the rule in the four states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.

In a court filing, the DOL said: “[W]hile the preliminary injunction remains in effect, the [DOL does] not intend to take any action to enforce the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) . . . against the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Nebraska, or officers, agencies, or employees of those states acting in their official capacity, in a manner that employs the definition of the term “spouse” contained in the February 25, 2015, final rule . . . .”

However, the DOL confirmed it will enforce the rule in the remaining 46 states.