If one of us becomes ill and needs care from the other, does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provide us with any job protection?

FMLA requires most companies (with 50 or more employees) to allow eligible employees at least twelve weeks of unpaid leave to care for ailing family members. In order to provide FMLA rights to all legally married same-sex couples consistent with the Windsor decision and President Obama’s directive, the United States Department of Labor issued a Final Rule on February 25, 2015, revising the regulatory definition of spouse under the FMLA. The Final Rule amends the regulatory definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouse or family member, regardless of where they live. This will ensure that the FMLA will give spouses in same-sex marriages the same ability as all spouses to fully exercise their FMLA rights. The Final Rule was effective on March 27, 2015. Also be sure to research whether your state offers paid family leave (PFL).

For timely updates on legal progress in employment situations, go to Lambda Legal (www.lambdalegal.org) or the National Center for Lesbian Rights (www.NCLRights.org) websites, both listed in Resources at the end of this fact sheet.