U.S.

November 8, 2013

Same-sex spouses eligible for FMLA benefits

Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Federal employees with same-sex spouses are now provided the same Family and Medical Leave Act coverage as those with opposite-sex spouses, according to an Oct. 21 Office of Personnel Management memorandum.

Following a June 26 Supreme Court decision finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, OPM officials implemented a review of guidance governing FMLA. Federal agencies now define spouse as a partner in any legally recognized marriage, regardless of the employee’s state of residency.

Included in FMLA benefits are the right to take FMLA leave to care for a spouse with a serious health condition or who gives birth to a child, to care for a spouse who is a covered service member with an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty on active duty, or for qualifying exigencies while a spouse is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to activate.

Normally employees cannot retroactively invoke FMLA leave entitlement, but employees who had to use other leave to care for a same-sex spouse between June 26 and Oct. 21 may be able to redesignate that time off as FMLA leave. That redesignation must be done by the end of the second pay period after their agency received the OPM memo.




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