Magazine article HRMagazine

Federal Workers with Same-Sex Spouses Gain More Rights

Magazine article HRMagazine

Federal Workers with Same-Sex Spouses Gain More Rights

Article excerpt

When same-sex couples tied the knot in the past, they often kept it hush-hush in the federal workforce. But now that an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memorandum has redefined "spouse," they can be more open.

The Oct. 21, 2013, memorandum directs heads of executive departments and agencies to stop using the definition of "spouse" found in the OPM's current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulation and to instead consider such a person to be a partner in any legally recognized marriage, regardless of the employee's state of residency. The term "spouse" does not include unmarried domestic partners.

"As a result of the Supreme Court decision [U.S. v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (U.S. 2013)], federal employees are now entitled to use FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse with a serious health condition (including one who gives birth to a child), to care for a same-sex spouse who is a covered servicemember with an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty on active duty, or for qualifying exigencies while a same-sex spouse is on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty status," the agency explained. …

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