The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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FMLA Regulations Effective March 27, 2015

Reference Number: MTAS-2063
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: March 30, 2016
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On February 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a Final Rule to revise the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.

The Final Rule amends the definition of spouse 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.

Essentially, the DOL has moved from assigning FMLA eligibility to same sex spouses under the ‘state of residence’ model to that of the ‘place of celebration.’ If a same sex couple were legally wed (or are a lawfully recognized common law marriage) in a state other than Tennessee, but reside here (regardless of recognition of the marriage at the state level), the couple is entitled to the same protections under the Federal FMLA laws as a couple legally wed in Tennessee.

More information is available at the Wage and Hour Division’s FMLA Final Rule website:

Source: (United States Department of Labor, 2015)