FMLA For the Gay – Even in Texas

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The Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to gay employees too.  FMLA is a federal law that provides for time away from work for certain employees who need to care for family members.  Specifically, FMLA applies to employees who need time away from work for:

  • child birth or adoption
  • to bond with a child
  • the employee’s own healthcare
  • to care for a spouse,
  • care for a child
  • care for a parent
  • an emergency related to military duty
  • care for someone injured in the military.

Relevant to homosexuals in Texas, the US Wage and Hour Division announced in August 2013 that they regard the definition of “spouse” to include “same-sex marriages.”  Since this is a federal law, a federally recognized marriage from any of the states qualifies for FLMA benefits.  For example, if a couple of Texans traveled to be wed in California, the marriage would be federally recognized when the couple returned to Texas.

Also relevant to gay Texans is the description of in loco parentis.  This does not mean you are a crazy gay parent but rather that you are the parental adult responsible for the day to day care and financial support of a child.  So, for example, the in Loco Parentis of a child may be his biological mother’s wife.  In this example, that wife is entitled to FMLA to care for the needs of the child.

Lastly, Fact Sheet 28 F reminds us that it is unlawful for an employer to “interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided by the FLA.”  Unfortunately, many Texas employers do not realize they need to allow their homosexual employees this federal right.

Your Austin Startup will face many opportunities and challenges that require legal knowledge on your side.  Austin Startup Attorney Natalie Lynch stands by ready to help you grow your startup.


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