Labor Department updates rules on family leave for same-sex spouses

August 14, 2013|Eileen Ambrose

Federal agencies have been playing catch-up since the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that had prevented same-sex married couples from receiving federal benefits.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez notified his staffers last week that the agency had updated guidance on the Family and Medical Leave Act to reflect the court’s decision. The act allows federal employees and workers at private companies with more than 50 workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a child or family member without losing their jobs.

Previously, same-sex couples have been able to take time off to care for a child. But as of June 26 — the date of the Supreme Court decision — legally married, same-sex couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage will be able to take time off to care for a spouse. 

“We will continue to examine the full range of Department programs to ensure that we are fully implementing the Supreme Court’s decision,” Perez wrote in an email to Labor employees Friday.

Also last week, Social Security announced it was started to process retirement spousal benefits for same-sex married couples. The couples must be living in states that recognize same-sex marriage at the time they apply for benefits.

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