FMLA for unmarried parents

We have a situation where both the father & expectant mother are our employees; however, they are not married to each other (both are married to someone else). If I'm interpreting it correctly, FMLA regs state that SPOUSES get combined leave for the birth of a child. So in this case, since they aren't married (to each other), do we have to give each employee the full FMLA entitlement? Your opinion would be very much appreciated!


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  • I believe you are correct. Spouse is defined as (according to [URL=""]this[/URL]):

    Spouse. The definition of "spouse" has been revised to comply with the definition of "spouse" in the Defense of Marriage Act (Public Law 104-199, September 21, 1996). "Spouse" means an individual who is a husband or wife pursuant to a marriage that is a legal union between one man and one woman, including common law marriage between one man and one woman in States where it is recognized.
  • At a previous employer, we had a situation in which a married employee got pregnant with a co-worker. Her husband also worked for us, at a different location. All three got leave, but that was due to an extremely permissive company policy. The husband actually used his leave to work out a transfer to a different city and move out of his house. It was a very sad situation, as you can imagine. It was also difficult for me to treat the two 'non-married' employees with the type of respect any HR pro should be able to muster.
  • Thanks for your responses. I'm still not sure what we will do for the father with regard to leave - our policy is pretty generic and doesn't cover this scenario. I guess I will have to talk it over with his Dept Head..... And I know what you mean about the 'respect' thing. I'm amazed at how open they are being about the whole situation. I'd be horrified :o
  • If you are subject to FMLA, the father would still be eligible for 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth of his child.