The White House announced plans today to draft an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act that would ensure people in same sex couples can take unpaid leave to care for a sick spouse. The new rules would apply even in states that don’t recognize same-sex unions. 

President Obama said he has instructed the Department of Labor to start writing rules for the new provision. According to the Wall Street Journal, the President will also push Congress to pass legislation qualifying same-sex couples for additional benefits that aren’t extended to LGBT-identified employees and their spouses.

“We will work closely with Congress to ensure that veterans and elderly and disabled Americans can obtain for themselves or their spouses the essential benefits they have earned no matter where they live,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a memo.

The Department of Labor cites the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision on same-sex marriage as the guiding influence on their proposed definition of  a “spouse” under FMLA.

Earlier this week, the President announced he would issue an Executive Order calling for a ban on workplace discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Media Resources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 6/20/14; Wall Street Journal 6/20/14; US Department of Labor; US Department of Justice 6/20/14; Feminist Newswire 6/17/14

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