Same-Sex Couple Benefits: The DOMA Decision One Year Later

By: Stacy Van Alstyne​

One year after the landmark Supreme Court Windsor decision, employers have moved beyond hesitation and have adjusted their plans, including extending benefits to become compliant.  According to the Foundation’s recent survey, Empl​oyee B​enefits for Same-Sex Couples: The DOMA Decision One Year Later, most employers reported the decision has made an impact on their organization.   ​

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Beyond the compliance mandates, more than half of surveyed employers are reporting a desire to be more inclusive of different types of families as part of their corporate culture. On the surface, the changes employers are making seem small.  They are striking out terms like husband and wife from plan documentation to replace them with spouse. They are adjusting the definition of spouse and domestic partner in benefit plans and policies. But the bigger impact is much more significant.  The decision resulted in a 34% increase in same-sex benefits from last year, including:

  • Health care
  • Life insurance beneficiary
  • Employee assistance plan services
  • Family/sick/bereavement leave
  • Pension/retirement plan beneficiary.

The infographic below shows additional findings.

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The survey questionnaire was open from June 2 through June 16, 2014. Responses were received from 538 corporate human resources and benefits professionals and industry experts. These individuals represent a comprehensive range of organizations with respect to size, industry and region. ​​

​[Related: Industry thought leader Neal Schelberg shares insights on DO​MA and P​ension/Benefit Plans.

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