The effects of same-sex marriage on employee benefits, companies’ actions to prevent employee discrimination and an evolving focus on benefits with special implications for diverse employees continue to be hot topics in today’s workplace.
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.
As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether gay couples are constitutionally entitled to marry, more companies in states with marriage equality have begun to mandate that gay employees marry in order to maintain benefits, including health care coverage. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, McDermott partner Todd Solomon discusses the shifting terrain of coverage and benefits that companies offer unmarried gay partners. McDermott lawyers have been monitoring domestic partnership benefits for almost two decades, and, as Mr. Solomon notes, the landscape is definitely changing.
Read the full article, “Firms Tell Gay Couples: Wed or Lose Your Benefits,” in the Wall Street Journal.