same gender marriage fmla

Today is a good day for same gender spouses under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Although it’s taken a while for the FMLA to catch up on the 2012 changes related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) being overturned based on the details of the United States vs. Windsor that day finally arrived on Friday, March 27, 2015.

With this change a spouse is now defined based on the state of celebration.  Therefore even if your state does not recognize same-sex marriage your policy related to the FMLA will need to recognize it, assuming it occurred legally in another jurisdiction.

Most human resource professionals have been preparing for this change for months…maybe years but here are two key reminders:

  • Although you may have known about this was coming since 2012, most supervisors have not!  Take an opportunity to remind your supervisors of this change.
  • Ensure you do not treat documentation requirements differently for same-sex marriage.  Therefore if a marriage certificate is not needed for opposite sex spouses, do not require it for same-sex spouses.

Take this opportunity to review your policy and documentation.  If the DOL comes knocking you will only have 72 hours to respond to their inquiry so look into it before they arrive at your door.

Photo by Mark Fischer

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Teri Weber

Teri Weber

Partner at Spring Consulting Group, LLC
Teri Weber, ACI is a Senior Vice President 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.