The United States Supreme Court’s recent landmark rulings on same-sex marriage have significantly changed employers’ options and obligations with respect to benefit coverage for employees’ same-sex spouses and partners. Until recently, some employers voluntarily extended benefits to same-sex partners in recognition of the fact that same-sex couples had limited ability to marry. However, now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and recognized under federal law, employers must extend certain spousal benefits to same-sex spouses and can do so without additional administrative complexity. In addition, some employers are phasing out unmarried partner benefits by requiring partners to marry in order to be eligible for spousal benefit coverage.
(c)2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., reprinted with permission.