On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must allow sex-same couples to marry and must recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed in other jurisdictions. If you reside in a state that previously banned same-sex marriage, that state must now recognize same-sex marriages that have been lawfully performed.
Impact for Employers
Many experts in the legal profession have stated that the impact to employers will be minimal. See details from the SHRM article, Limited Employer Impact Likely from Gay Marriage Ruling. For states that already recognized same-sex marriage, there should not be any changes necessary for employers. For states where same-sex marriage was previously banned, proper diversity training may be needed to ensure that the workplace remains calm from employee reactions.
Benefits Enrollment Updates and Changes
As an employer you will have 31 days from June 26, 2015 to allow an employee to add their same-sex spouse to your company benefits package, if necessary. This applies to employees that were married prior to June 26, 2015.
Important considerations for employers and employees:
- An employee could be put in a retroactive situation with back payroll deductions.
- If a couple is married after this date, they would have a special enrollment right to enroll from the date of the marriage.
- FMLA may now be applicable to same-sex marriage couples.
- Medical Insurance and Retirement Plans should be reviewed and changes made to add dependents and beneficiaries.
If you are a self-funded employer, you should consult your attorney to ensure that you are not found to be in a discriminatory situation under Title VII if you choose to not offer same-sex spouse coverage.
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