Today, the Department of Labor issued a new rule extending the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to married same-sex spouses all over the country, including Louisiana. The new rule allows employees to take unpaid leave to care for their same-sex spouse regardless of which state they live in so long as their wedding was performed in a state that recognizes such marriage. This “place of celebration” standard means that although Louisiana does not currently recognize same-sex marriages, same-sex couples in Louisiana who were validly married in a state that does recognize marriage equality are now covered under FMLA.

Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy for the Family Equality Council released this statement summarizing the import of today’s new rule:

The Family and Medical Leave Act is the only federal law helping Americans balance the demands of both work and family. Since its passage in 1993, FMLA leave has been used more than 200 million times but until today, it was not fully accessible to LGBTQ workers. The Department of Labor has done an outstanding job of ensuring full and fair implementation of the Windsor decision and this final rule is a critical step in ensuring LGBTQ workers can care for themselves and their spouses – regardless of where in the country they live – without jeopardizing their jobs or economic security.

For more information on how the expansion of FMLA to same-sex spouses may affect your family, please visit the Family Equality Council’s website, which provides answers to a number of frequently asked questions about FMLA, including:

WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE COVERED UNDER THE FMLA?

FMLA applies to all public employers and private employers who employ 50 or more workers.

HOW MUCH LEAVE CAN I TAKE UNDER FMLA?

FMLA allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I CAN TAKE FMLA?

Employees are eligible to take FMLA if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and have worked at a location where the employer, within 75 miles, has employed at least 50 employees.

The Family Equality Council has prepared a one-page summary of today’s development, as has the Department of Labor (which maintains its own FMLA FAQ page).

Family and Medical Leave for Louisiana Same-Sex Spouses
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