The Family Leave Insurance Act of 2009 [H.R. 1723], introduced on March 25 by four House Democrats, would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits to workers who need to care for an ill family member or new child, or to treat their own illness. Along with its paid leave provisions, which CCH says drew the most attention, H.R. 1723 also would amend the Act to grant FMLA leave to employees who need to care for an ill domestic partner or the child of a domestic partner – thereby affording the protections of the FMLA to GLBT employees.
Currently, the FMLA does not require employers to provide leave to care for a same-sex partner or spouse, because federal law does not recognize same-sex relationships. In addition, it is unclear whether, in every instance, the FMLA would cover the child of a same-sex partner or spouse if the employee is not the child’s legal parent. Employers are not mandated by the FMLA to provide an employee leave for the birth and care of a child to which an employee is not a legal parent unless a local court determines it to be so.