On Friday June 26th the United States Supreme Court struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee when it issued the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This decision has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. There are several employer takeaways from this decision, including those listed below.
First, FMLA leave is now available to an eligible employee in a same sex marriage regardless of the state where the marriage was performed or where the employee seeking leave resides.
Second, any laws in your state that require employers to provide benefits to employee spouses will now apply to spouses in same sex marriages.
Third, COBRA benefits that extend to spouses will now be available to spouses in same sex marriages.
Fourth, if your employee handbook or manual defines spouse or marriage, or has other leave policies which are impacted by the decision, you should update those definitions and policies to comply with the law.
There could be other issues as well. If you have questions or concerns about other issues created by the Hodges decision call your attorney.