Arizona Same-Sex Marriage Triggers FMLA Eligibility
Arizona's FMLA-covered employers must now provide leave to employees for the purpose of caring for a same-sex spouse.
Last week, same-sex marriages were made
legal in Arizona. The lifting of the state's constitutional ban
on same-sex marriages was a direct result of court rulings in
Latta v. Otter and
Majors v. Horne.
For Arizona employers, these decisions
impact employee eligibility for leave under the
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA
regulations provide that employee eligibility for leave to care
for a spouse is based on whether the employee's state of
residence recognizes the marriage.
Now that Arizona does recognize same-sex marriage,
Arizona employers that are covered by FMLA must provide FMLA leave to employees
for the purpose of caring for a same-sex spouse. Additionally, the definition of
"son or daughter" in FMLA policies may be impacted, as leave should now be
provided to care for the children of same-sex spouses. Some employee benefit
plans may also be impacted by this change.
Employers would be wise to review
employee handbooks, policies, procedures and other documents to
Extends FMLA Rights to Same-Sex Spouses" (Society for Human Resource
Management, February 27, 2015)
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Tierney's employment law practice