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DOL Publishes New Regulations That Redefine 'Spouse'

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule amending the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations to define "spouse" to reflect the law in the state where the marriage was performed. Previously, the regulations deferred to the state in which the employee resided. The final rule applies to both same-sex and common-law marriages, and also outlines circumstances under which marriages entered into outside the U.S. will be recognized for FMLA purposes and the definition of "spouse." The rule clarifies that to confirm a spousal or family relationship, an employee is only required to provide a simple statement, as opposed to completing some other form of documentation. The DOL also notes that employers should not request documentation of a spousal relationship if it has already been provided for another purpose. The final rule will take effect on March 27, 2015.

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