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FMLA Compliance Gets Trickier

The popular website HR Morning, just released a new employment article. Excerpt is found below.

Is the latest change to the FMLA taking effect in your state? Not if you’re in Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska or Texas. As you’ve probably heard by now (we reported it in February), the DOL just updated the definition of “spouse” for FMLA purposes to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States. v. Windsor. It did this via a rule change that essentially said any eligible employee who’s in a legal same-sex marriage can take federal FMLA leave to care for his or her spouse, regardless of the state in which that employee resides.

Now, however, this rule won’t apply to those living in the four states mentioned above — at least for the time being.

Judge: Rule violates states’ rights
As we reported a few weeks ago, a federal judge in Texas preliminarily enjoined the implementation of the rule after the attorneys general of Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska and Louisiana filed suit, claiming the rule violated states’ rights.

Well, the DOL has just responded to the injunction — and it’s likely going to make life difficult for employers with multi-state operations.

The DOL announced it’ll enforce the new rule in every state except those four.

At the same time, the DOL made a motion for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to reconsider the injunction. The result? The court just denied the DOL’s request, so the injunction will stand — at least until the states’ lawsuit is resolved.

Moot point?
Many observers seem to think the Texas decision could well be moot, since the Supreme Court will hear several same-sex marriage cases this term — and likely rule that federal law requires the states to recognize those unions.
Stay tuned.

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