Federal Daily News

FMLA to cover feds with same-sex spouses

The Office of Personnel Management directed agency and department heads to make policy changes that will allow federal employees to use Family and Medical Leave Act leave to care for same-sex spouses.

OPM acting Director Elaine Kaplan issued a memorandum Oct. 21 directing departments and agencies to discontinue use of the definition of spouse found in OPM’s current FMLA regulation, and instead define spouse as a partner in any legally recognized marriage, regardless of the employee’s state of residency.

The agency issued the memo to serve as interim guidance while OPM completes changes to its FMLA regulations in response the Supreme Court decision earlier this year that overturned a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that had prevented the government from extending benefits to same-sex spouses of federal employees.

The directive is effective June 26, 2013. While employees will not be able to retroactively invoke entitlement to FMLA leave under the directive, the memo noted that those "who took otherwise-qualifying leave for a same-sex spouse between June 26, 2013, and the date of this memorandum will be permitted to re-designate such time off as FMLA leave."

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