Photo by Austin headshots photographer Matthew Lemke, www.MattheBy Steven Garrett, Associate Attorney, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

On March 26, 2015 a Federal Court in Wichita Falls, Texas temporarily halted the Department of Labor’s new FMLA rule, described below, pending a full determination on the merits. The temporary stay is the result of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas and others. Effective March 27, 2015 the DOL had revised their regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act to define a spouse according to the “place of celebration” instead of “the state of residence.” For example, if a same-sex couple was married in California and then moved to Texas under the “place of celebration” rule, employers in Texas would have to consider the couple legally married for purposes of administering the FMLA. Simply put, eligible employees would have been able to take FMLA leave to care for their same sex spouse with a serious health condition, take qualifying exigency leave due to their same-sex spouse’s covered military service, or take military caregiver leave for their same-sex spouse. The March 26 ruling means that, for now, if an employer grants leave to an employee for one of these purposes, that leave does not count against the employee’s 12-week allotment of FMLA. Stay tuned.