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Changes Loom for Employers

Wall Street Journal (06/26/13) Lauren Weber; Anita Hofschneider

Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act currently applies only to the workers in the 12 states and the District of Columbia that recognize gay marriage; companies in those states must make sure their employee benefit packages do not discriminate against gay spouses. Gay spouses automatically will be considered beneficiaries of 401(k) retirement plans and pensions.

Married gay couples will now receive equal tax treatment of health-insurance premiums. Currently, two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partners health benefits; the ruling will make their benefit plans simpler and reduce paperwork, but will mean companies must alter tax calculations for same-sex partners.