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New proposal would make same-sex partners eligible under FMLA

Originally posted June 23, 2014 by Lynette Gil on www.lifehealthpro.com.

No one should have to choose between succeeding at work and being a loving family caregiver, according to the Labor Department’s Secretary, Thomas E. Perez. That’s why the Labor Department proposed a rule that any employee in the private-sector is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regardless if the state they live in recognizes their marital status. Officials did not say how many employees would fall under this rule.

Meanwhile, the Office of Personal Management issued its own proposal, which extends the same benefits to federal employees. However, this rule won’t apply to those who work in Social Security or veteran benefits offices because their eligibility is based on the law where the employees live, instead of where they celebrated their marriage.

According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration will call on Congress this Friday to pass a handful of bills “aimed at extending those benefits to same-sex couples in states that don’t recognize gay marriage.”  And the director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, James Esseks, said that Congress needs to pass legislation so that “LGBT Americans who have been paying into the [Social Security] system for decades” can take advantage of it.